Prince Lobel: New York Eases Testing Requirements for Cannabis Flower Products

On November 2, 2022, the New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) updated its Laboratory Testing Limits for unextracted cannabis products (e.g., flower, pre-rolls, etc.), eliminating any limits for aerobic bacteria, yeast, and mold. In an email to conditional cultivators and processors, the OCM explained that “Cannabis Laboratories will still need to run these tests as part of the state mandated testing panel, but at this time, there will not be a defined limit for unextracted cannabis products in the adult-use program.”

The update will likely be embraced by the state’s two hundred sixty-one licensed conditional cultivators, many of whom had recently expressed concerns that their crops would not meet the OCM’s stringent testing limits. While the OCM had previously limited the total viable aerobic bacteria count to 10,000 cfu/g and the total yeast and mold counts to 1,000 cfu/g—it has now decided to let licensees self-regulate these limits, writing, “[i]t is the responsibility of the licensee to consider these results and any impact to the stability and expiration dating of the product, as well as any risks to the health of consumers.”

It is important to note that the update only applies to the total viable aerobic bacteria count and total yeast and mold counts for non-extracted cannabis products and does not apply to extracted cannabis products (e.g., oils, concentrates, edibles, tinctures, etc.). Further, all other testing requirements remain the same.

The OCM intends to release additional lab testing guidance, including a temporary protocol designed to enable licensees to test multiple lots of the same form of product simultaneously, soon.

If you have any questions about the OCM’s testing requirements or any other cannabis issue, please contact a member of the Prince Lobel Cannabis Team.

With thanks to Alex Hymowitz and Dalton Battin for their work on this client alert.

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