New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) issued guidance late Friday for the state’s first adult-use retail dispensaries.

Some of the key takeaways: cannabis delivery, express-lanes and drive-thru cannabis service will be permitted. Also, dispensaries must close at midnight and cannot open before 8 a.m absent municipal approval.

The new rules — effective immediately — are a key step in moving closer to the state’s pledge to open adult-use dispensaries by year’s end.

The 27-page guidance document is very detailed. It calls for each dispensary to name an “Employee in Charge” who will be responsible for overseeing operations and submitting all required reports and notifications to the OCM. It also requires each dispensary to maintain a training manual with security and safety protocols, among other requirements.

The guidance falls in line with OCM’s advertising and marketing regulations – dispensaries cannot claim the cannabis products will cure or prevent specific illnesses or diseases, treat certain symptoms or provide any other medical advice to customers; and cannot donate products or advertise giveaways, discounts, reward systems or loyalty programs.

Many of the regulations – such as the drive-thru service – require notice to and approval from the OCM.

Other key takeaways:

  • Dispensaries cannot buy from distributors via credit card. They must pay in some form of cash or open a line of credit limited to 90 days. OCM can invalidate any credit agreements it determines to be commercially unreasonable
  • Dispensaries can provide samples to customers for inspection, but not consumption. Products must be non-accessible to the customer, like behind a counter or in some sort of enclosed container.
  • Dispensaries must establish a quarantine/recall process for adverse products and must dispose of cannabis waste at a state-designated location, return it to the distributor or manage disposal according to state-mandated protocols.

For more information, please contact Meaghan T. Feenan, who advises organizations of all structures on developments within the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), including cultivators and processors, retailers, and distributors. She’s a frequent speaker on Cannabis topics and regularly publishes articles about the licensing process and legislative updates.

This alert is not a substitute for advice of counsel on specific legal issues.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York state, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse, Uniondale and White Plains, as well as Washington D.C., New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.