New York hemp stakeholders are counting on public comments to downturn the proposed rules, which could make smokable hemp flowers illegal. The proposed regulations have been met with criticism from cannabis consumers and producers, arguing that the rule would jeopardize industry growth and lockout small-scale farmers who have already harvested their crops this season.
If implemented, the new regulations would ban CBD as a dietary supplement as well as a food and beverage ingredient.
According to the New York State Health Department, the continued lack of federal policies for CBD manufacturers and retailers has made state regulations necessary in standardizing quality and transparency requirements in the hemp supply chain industry.
The New York health agency is mandated to establish the CBD rules under the New York Hemp Extract Bill enacted in May 2020. Public comments on the proposed regulations are slated for November 10th and will run for two months, closing on January 11th, 2021.
New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association (NYCGPA) has been instrumental in drafting the proposed rules and welcoming some proposed guidelines that concern quality issues. Still, NYCGPA President Allan Gandleman pointed out that the new regulations will severely hit small scale farmers who are currently in their fields harvesting their hemp crops.
Gandleman noted that the move would also frustrate hundreds of stakeholders all over the state who have invested tremendous resources in the development of hemp operations.
The catalyst for sparking criticism in the proposed rules is the key clause that bans pre-rolls, cigarettes, and cigars made from hemp flowers. It defines flower products as buds, stems, flowers, or leaves of the hemp plant, including trimming thereof, intended for retail sales to consumers without additional processing. The same regulations also seek to ban inhalers, suppositories, and transdermal patches.
The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has received criticism for its approach in handling the issue in its proposed regulations affecting CBD. NYCGPA President said the association is committed to addressing problematic draft guidelines through the public comment process.
According to an earlier survey by NYCGPA, investors are currently apprehensive about the new guidelines, with about 50 percent of processor license holders not yet in business citing concerns about the regulations.
NYCGPA confirmed this, saying that growers and processors are worried about investing in the sector owing to a lack of clear regulations.