Quarterly Policy Update: Unveiling Key Regulatory Changes and Insights in California and New York Cannabis Markets

Nabis is proud to play a pivotal role in the California and New York cannabis markets, collaborating with industry colleagues and advocating for progressive policies that advance our industry as a whole. In this edition of our Quarterly Policy Update, we highlight significant updates that occurred during Q2 2023 including industry credit initiatives, advocacy around consumer awareness and public health, important state budget updates, and other key regulatory changes. 

California Policy Updates

Launch of Industry Credit Work (FSCC and CICG)

In collaboration with industry colleagues, Nabis formally announced its key founding role in the Financial Stability for California Cannabis (FSCC) coalition with the primary goal of being able to better inform and support policy efforts addressing credit. Specifically, the coalition includes distributors and wholesaling brands from across the industry to provide high-level, anonymized data around the true size and scope of the debt balloon.

Additionally, Nabis actively formed the Cannabis Industry Credit Group (CICG) with industry leaders as well. This group was strategically formed in partnership with the renowned Credit Management Association, which is a non-profit trade organization that has enabled operators to measure sales risk through real-time credit assessments and share best practices in debt collection across a variety of industries for over 140 years. We welcome their involvement and expertise in the cannabis space.

General California Advocacy

California’s Budget Projection Forecasts Trouble Ahead 

In his May Budget Revise, Governor Newsom announced some bleak projections as it relates to cannabis funding. Specifically, cannabis tax revenues have fallen well below required funding “baselines” established in last year’s AB-195. Should these revenues continue to fall, the cannabis industry could be at risk of an increase to our taxes. Through our leadership in California’s leading trade organizations, Nabis has been hard at work helping make clear to lawmakers in Sacramento that additional tax burdens on the legal industry cannot happen. 

Public Health & Consumer Awareness - Leading with Science

Nabis has also recently taken positions around bills in California related to consumer safety and public health. Specifically, Nabis supported SB 540 (Laird) when it was heard in committee, an important bill that takes a science-based, objective approach toward cannabis labeling regulations and ensures consumers are armed with knowledge for responsible cannabis use. Alternatively, Nabis has continued to oppose AB 1207 (Irwin), a problematic bill for cannabis licensees that seeks to impose several restrictions around the manufacturing, packaging, and labeling of products.

PPIC Poll Demonstrates Positive Sentiment

A recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), a leading, independent policy think tank in the state, showed that consumer sentiment around cannabis is at an all-time high. More Californians than ever have a positive outlook on cannabis legalization, with a majority even supporting the expansion of retail locations in their own communities. This poll underscores that and while California is often a hard place to run a cannabis business, we are on the slow road to progress.

New York Policy Updates

Processor Distribution Rights Extended to June 1, 2024 

In the final hours of its legislative session, the New York State Legislature extended the deadline by which conditional processor licensees can distribute cannabis products across the state to June 1, 2024. Prior to the extension, Nabis’ Director of Policy, Eddie Franco, joined Fox Business Network’s ‘Kennedy’ to share insights on New York's market and the evolving landscape of cannabis policy.

Finger Lakes Injunction Lifted

After a lengthy court process, the injunction on issuing conditional retail (CAURD) licenses in the Finger Lakes region has been lifted. The approval of seven CAURD applications in the region by the OCM's Cannabis Control Board signifies an expansion of legal access to cannabis in the Finger Lakes.

Second Draft of Adult-Use Regulations Released

The OCM (Office of Cannabis Management) has released the second draft of comprehensive adult-use regulations. Stakeholders have until July 31, 2023, to submit public commentary and Nabis' feedback on the initial draft has already led to positive changes—the updates include streamlining the application review process, establishing a clear pathway for B2B trade samples, and enabling digital storage of records such as manifests and certificates of analysis. Nabis is delighted to have the vast majority of our last round of commentary to build a more sustainable and thriving cannabis market in NY be accepted by the OCM. We expect the final regulations to be complete by Q4 this year.

The cannabis industry in both California and New York markets is experiencing dynamic policy changes and regulatory advancements. Nabis continues to uphold its voice as a key partner in the supply chain by maintaining an active role in industry coalitions and advocacy efforts, driving progress and fostering growth. As we continue to monitor and engage with these developments, stay tuned for our next quarterly policy update, where we will bring you the latest news and insights.