It is now legal for adults twenty (21) and older to possess up to three (3) ounces (oz) of cannabis and up to twenty-four (24) grams (g) of concentrated cannabis for personal use in New York. Adults may smoke or vape cannabis wherever smoking tobacco is allowed under the smoke-free air laws, with a few exceptions.

Cannabis use is not allowed in motor vehicles – even if they are parked – or in outdoor dining areas at restaurants so smoking or vaping cannabis in prohibited areas may result in a civil summons and fine.

It is still against the law for people younger than twenty-one (21) years old to possess, sell or use any amount of cannabis. Also, no one may legally possess more than what’s legally allowed, sell any amount without a license, or drive while under the influence or impaired by cannabis.

After legal sales begin, Responsible Vendor Training (RVT) and home cultivation begin:

  • Adults will be allowed to purchase cannabis products at licensed retailers.
  • Adults will be allowed to grow three (3) cannabis plants at home. Homes with more than one (1) adult will be allowed to grow six (6) plants (three mature and three immature plants).
  • Adults will be allowed to store up to five (5) pounds (lb) of cannabis in their homes.
  • Cities and towns may have on-site consumption areas where people can use cannabis.

It’s illegal for anyone under the age of twenty-one (21) to buy, possess, or consume use adult-use cannabis in New York. Just like alcohol and tobacco, cannabis use consumption by people underage has been found to have negative social, physical, and mental health impacts on minors because their brains are still growing and developing.

Businesses must have an adult-use license to legally sell cannabis in New York, and adult-use retail dispensaries can lose their license or face other significant penalties for selling cannabis to anyone underage. Adults can be charged with criminal penalties for selling or giving cannabis products to someone that’s underage.

New York Responsible Vendor Training

The New York cannabis regulatory agencies have mandated that every “vendor” must receive and complete either (8) hours per year of training on a set of topics they have defined in the regulations. Vendors include, “managers, employees, contractors, volunteers, or persons performing activities under a licensee’s authorizations,” according to the New York cannabis regulations.

Licensees will provide all managers, employees, contractors, volunteers, or persons performing activities under a licensee’s authorizations a New York Responsible Vendor Training (RVT) is required in English and the primary language of all recipients within thirty (30) days of engagement, and at no cost ($0) to the trainee.

Training will happen during the employee’s work hours, and the licensee will pay the employee their usual rate of pay while completing any required training. Licensed businesses have to maintain an employee training manual that’s required to be provided in a printed version to employees during New York’s RVT program and made available at the licensed premises to employees, authorized personnel, and the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) upon request.

The employee training manual includes employee guidelines, safety procedures, and security protocols, including:

  • The physical effects of cannabis on the human body are based on the phytocannabinoids present and recognizing signs of impairment, appropriate responses in the event of overconsumption, and risks of cannabis use and over-use, including cannabis use disorder.
  • The public safety risks and legal consequences of operating any vehicle, including watercraft, under the influence.
  • A brief history of cannabis prohibition, legalization, and overcoming stigma.
  • A basic overview of the powers and responsibilities of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and the Cannabis Control Board (CCB).

Additional NY Responsible Vendor Training Topics

Additional training topics that’ll be required in New York’s Responsible Vendor Training (RVT) compliance program:

  • Permitted Cultivation Techniques and Cultivar Varieties
  • Permitted Processing Methods
  • Safe Storage
  • Packaging, Labeling, Marketing, and Advertising Requirements
  • Security and Surveillance of Licensed Premises
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Inventory Tracking System Operation and Compliance
  • Permitted Investigation or Inspection
  • Waste Disposal
  • Privacy and Confidentiality
  • Common violations result in license cancellation, suspension, revocation, denial of renewal, civil and criminal fees, fines, and penalties.
  • Licensed businesses need responsible cannabis vendors for all retail activities occurring on the premises and operating plan:
    • An explanation of how employees will monitor and prevent sales to consumers where there is a risk to their health or safety, underage or illegal sales of cannabis products, or any other criminal activity within the licensed premises.
    • Cannabis product information, including, serving size information, onset and duration of effects, method of administration, warnings, and information regarding secure storage and proper disposal of cannabis products.
    • Consumer and patient privacy and confidentiality requirements
  • For licensees authorized for processing activities:
    • Standard operating procedures for all staff involved in extracting, processing, and/or manufacturing cannabis or cannabis products, including:
    • Training that is specific to the duties assigned, and the safe operation of the equipment, machinery, solvents, gases, and systems to be utilized.
    • Training on the hazards presented by the use of chemicals and solvents, as described in the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each. Safety data sheets shall be onsite, maintained, and readily available to employees. For licensees authorized for cultivation, the training manual shall also include training on the application of any chemicals or pesticides used in the cultivation of cannabis.
    • If extracting, best practices, including, safe extraction procedures and protocols, and fire prevention and fire response.
    • If manufacturing edible products, best practices, including, safe food handling training as specified in the Department of Agriculture and Markets safe food handling regulations.
  • Record Maintenance
  • Prohibited Purchases and Practices
  • Implicit Bias Training
  • Relevant Local Ordinances, Rules, and Regulations
  • Other Local, State, or Federal Regulations or Training

Emergency operations, including notification to emergency personnel and shutdown procedures. Information on how to access current laws, rules, and regulations, and any guidance or policy documents issued by the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). A page for signed and dated documentation demonstrating each employee’s attestation of completion of the training.

NY Responsible Vendor Compliance Requirements

Retail DispensaryLicensed retail businesses will:

  • Provide adequate supervision of staff, including trainees, by persons familiar with standard operating procedures for the relevant roles and activities.
  • Ensure all staff has demonstrated capability in the activities they are responsible for.
  • Ensure all staff is fully trained on all standard operating procedures, including security and emergency procedures and any procedures related to employee and public health and safety.
  • Have policies and procedures for identifying training needs on an annual basis and providing ongoing training of personnel, for a minimum of eight (8) hours per year, for each full-time employee.

Licensed cannabis operations may:

  • Provide their own training and develop training curriculum and materials provided that the training meets the minimum core curriculum standards.
  • Contract with third parties providing training and education required.
  • All training required to be provided by licensees to all managers, employees, contractors, volunteers, or persons performing activities under a licensee’s authorization will be free of charge to the recipient.

NY Responsible Vendor Training Verification

Licensed businesses will have to demonstrate completion of Responsible Vendor Training by each person that’s required by regulatory compliance. Operations will keep records and make them available upon request by the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), as it relates to training and needs to include the following information:

  • Trainee’s Name
  • Trainee’s Hire Date
  • The name and description of all training satisfactorily completed by the trainee.

Failure to keep the records or make records available by request from the OCM can result in disciplinary action, including:

  • Civil Penalties
  • License Cancellation
  • Suspension
  • Revocation
  • Denial of Renewal
  • Civil or Criminal Fees, Fines, or Penalties

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