The Cannabis Growers Showcase (CGS) is an initiative that allows cannabis growers and processors to showcase their products at events for consumer purchase. Licensed Adult Use Cannabis Cultivators (AUCC), Adult Use Conditional Processors (AUCP), and Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensaries (CAURD) can apply to participate in the CGS on the Cannabis.NY.Gov site.
The showcases can take place at licensed dispensaries, pop-up retail locations, licensed conditional cultivator and processor locations, and other event sites. Temporary delivery-only locations are not approved sites.
The initiative is set to run through January 1, 2024. The application went live on July 23, 2023, and will be accepted through December 1, 2023. New York is the first and only state to run a Cannabis Growers Showcase.
The Cannabis Growers Showcase Aims to Help Stakeholders Sell Excess Weed
The CGS was established to help stakeholders sell excess products. According to a News10 report, there’s an excess of about 250,000 pounds of flower waiting to be sold due to oversupply from the 2022 growing season. Cultivators prepared the product thinking more dispensaries would be open by now.
The Cannabis Growers Showcase aims to rectify the situation. It allows three growers to partner with one retailer to sell their products at certain events. The growers can be farmers or processors although processors are optional.
New York has been slow to license retailers leaving cultivators and processors with excess product. The state board approved 212 provisional retailer licenses last month accounting for the most giant batch of approvals. The new permissions bring the state’s total to 463 licensees waiting to serve the adult market. But it could take six months to a year for their businesses to open.
As of now, there are fewer than two dozen retailers operating In New York due to financing issues and legislation-related delays.
The situation could get worse due to a temporary block on new licenses in the state following a lawsuit by veterans who claim officials are prioritizing licensing for social equity applicants.
Assemblywoman and Chair of the Agriculture Committee Donna Lupardo says the Cannabis Growers Showcase is long overdue. “We have been truly desperate over what Senator Hinchey and I have described as an agricultural emergency. Even in the meeting they described our farmers as the anchors of the cannabis supply chain, so it’s long overdue welcome news,” she said.
Approval is Necessary
Growers and retailers must go through an application process before they are approved. Both the event site and participants require approval. The showcases cannot be held at events that receive federal funding and where most individuals attending are under 21. They also cannot be held at venues that sell alcohol.
People will not be able to use marijuana at the markets.
“We’re going to be evaluating proposals and submissions as they come in,” said Office of Cannabis Management Director of Policy John Kagia.
First Cannabis Growers Showcase Opens in New York
The first Cannabis Growers Showcase opened in New Paltz, NY on August 10. It is described as a farmer’s market for cannabis products. It will run weekly for the rest of the year or until the first cannabis retail store opens in New York.
The showcase was organized by the family-owned cannabis cultivator company High Falls Canna. It features products from four farms and a processor.
High Falls Canna founder and president Rick Weissman told the press that his company has distributed product to a handful of dispensaries but still has “quite a bit to sell” not to mention the plants still in the ground. His company is participating because they want to sell the products grown last year.
What Products Can Be Sold at a Cannabis Growers Showcase?
New York officials have set guidelines for the products that can be sold at a Cannabis Growers Showcase. They include:
- Cannabis and hemp products (if granted a Cannabinoid Hemp Temporary Retail Permit)
- Cannabis paraphernalia
- Minor incidentals
- Branded merchandise and apparel
Retailers may not sell:
- Food or beverages that do not contain cannabis, other than water
- Alcohol products
- Tobacco and nicotine products
- Items that may be attractive to people under 21 such as candy, toys, and games
- Merchandise that references a brand other than the licensee’s
What Steps Do You Need to Take to Organize a Cannabis Growers Showcase?
- Complete the Cannabis Growers Showcase Application
- Provide basic information about the event such as the time, date location, participating licensees, and products for sale
- Submit a site plan of the event that shows where cannabis will be sold, where customers are permitted and not permitted, points of sale, approval letters, and signed attestations by all licensees
- Templates of the inventory data submission and municipal and associated event approval letters are available at cannabis.ny.gov/cannabis-growers-showcase
- Designate a Lead Contact and Employee in Charge responsible for overseeing the event
- Ensure the event is compliant with all requirements and regulations outlined by the Office.
Other Steps New York is Taking to Move the Market Forward
Gov. Kathy Honchul’s administration is taking other steps to grow the New York cannabis market in the face of delays.
She has launched a public education campaign that encourages adults to buy cannabis from licensed retailers and ensure products are safe. It also directs industry revenue towards equity and reinvestment goals.
The New York Senate also formed a marijuana-focused committee to collaborate with regulators as the market evolves.
Officials announced in March that they would double the number of conditional adult-use marijuana licenses that can be approved from 150 to 300 so more storefronts can open quickly.
The governor also introduced legislation to increase law enforcement to cut down on illegal marijuana retailers. She unveiled a marijuana business and product verification tool that posts a QR code on licensed retailers and authorized products.
She also signed a bill that will expand the state’s hemp market by promoting partnerships in the industry and identifying more opportunities for crop utilization.
The state has also approved bills that provide tax relief for marijuana businesses and increase deduction eligibility.