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What’s REALLY in Your Stash? Changes to THC Potency Testing and Tax

Happy April Yall!! This month has some exciting ways to connect with our team and to get the first look at what we have been cooking up for the past two years! We truly live by the motto of speak softly and carry a heavy stick and for us that has really meant putting our heads down and grinding! It means putting our own money on the line to make this dream come true. Its sleepless nights and the five of us reconfiguring our very full lives and schedules to meet with vendors and with each other. Its forging ahead to make it to market and all of the preparations and hard work setting the stage for us to be successful once we arrive.

One of the ways that we achieve that is by leaning into one of the Stash Queens core tenets which is about INTEGRITY. That means that first and foremost how we as a team engage with one another mirrors good practice in being truthful, honest and communicative. We pay our vendors on time, we honor what we say we are going to do with external partners. We expect it from each other and the people we are working with and we most DEFINITELY expect it from our cannabis products. So this month its all about sharing recent developments regarding New York State’s THC potency testing and how some legislators and industry organizations are pushing for changes to the New York State potency tax which impacts the regulated herb you are purchasing and your wallet.

First, THC potency testing is important and here is why it matters to both consumers and the industry. Recently, NY Cannabis Insider conducted an exposé, which found conflicts between the actual and advertised levels of THC in several strains of legal recreational cannabis available for sale in New York State. In their desire to help speed up the way for entrepreneurs, the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) relaxed its guidelines and implemented line testing, a process that allowed flower and pre-rolls to go to market more quickly with a label of “anticipated potency” rather than actual potency. However, following Cannabis Insider’s reporting, OCM updated their standards and protocols and eliminated the use of line testing for flowers and pre-rolls. This change is a step in the right direction for the industry, as accurate labeling, quality control, and legal compliance are crucial for the growth and credibility of the regulated market.

Accurate labeling is important because consumers have a right to know what they are buying and putting into their bodies. Without accurate THC potency labeling, consumers may unknowingly take too much or too little of a cannabis product with the potential for unintended results. For medical patients, this is especially critical, as the effectiveness of their treatment can depend on the accurate dosage of THC.

The benefits of third-party testing go beyond just THC potency testing. Third-party testing for pesticides, heavy metals, and microbial contaminants helps to ensure that cannabis products are safe for consumption. Without third-party testing, consumers would have to rely solely on the word of the grower or dispensary, which may not always be accurate. People are paying their money in dispensaries to know exactly what they are buying so operating with integrity regarding testing is absolutely paramount.

Now, once you have pulled up at the dispensary and have gotten your accurately tested products in your basket, customers may see another change that has not happened yet but could be on the horizon.

Legislators and other cannabis stakeholders are advocating for a change in the way recreational cannabis is taxed in New York State. Senator Jeremy Cooney and advocates are pushing for a bill that would repeal the current THC potency tax and replace it with an excise tax of 9% to 16% of the sale price. The proposed bill would replace the current tax system, which partially levies the tax based on the percentage of THC content paid by both the distributor and the consumer. The current potency tax rates were signed into law as part of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) in March 2021.

Agricultural proponents believe that the current tax structure places undue burden on farmers which can be a problem especially since the regulated cannabis market is relying heavily on a farming product. Additionally, dispensaries shoulder paying the potency tax for the cultivators product which then gets passed down to the consumer with higher retail sticker prices that vary widely. We will see legislatively in the coming year if there is enough support in Albany to makes this massive tax change.

Now you can see why having an accurate measure of THC potency could have an impact with what you consume and how much you pay for it. Integrity when it comes to the product means everything, something Stash Queens is taking to heart.

Until Next Time Stashies!!!

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