New York Hemp Testing Compliance: What You Need to Know

New York Hemp Testing Compliance: What You Need to Know

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New York recently rolled out a hemp program to elevate the industry with higher standards for consumer safety. The new testing guidelines are complex and stringent, but our team is well versed. As one of the first New York-certified facilities, we work with hemp growers, operators, retailers, and multistate actors to ensure their raw materials and finished goods are ready for sale.

Here we’ll review New York’s hemp testing requirements so brands can remain compliant in this highly regulated market.

 

Hemp licensing process

New York’s new hemp program requires all growers to hold licenses. To apply for a permit, applicants must pay a $500 fee and complete an FBI Identity history summary check. Additionally, hemp cultivators must reapply for renewed privileges to grow in 2022 and beyond.

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Unfinished Hemp Flower Testing Information

In addition to licensing requirements, New York’s hemp program enacted new regulations for sampling and testing.

THC Potency Testing in New York

Growers must test their hemp for THC potency, ensuring the level remains at a compliant 0.3% or less. To verify this, growers must work with a sampling agent certified by the New York Department of Agriculture.

At least 30 days before the anticipated harvest date for each lot, growers must submit a pre-harvest report to the state’s Department of Agriculture. The Department will then notify growers if they need to undergo sampling and coordinate with agents to conduct the process. After receiving notification, the sampling agent visits the lot or field and collects samples, which they send to the grower’s preferred certified laboratory.

After receiving samples, the New York-certified laboratory must test for THC potency and verify that the concentration is 0.3% or less by dry weight. Growers must harvest compliant hemp within 30 days of the sampling date.

However, if the results reveal that the hemp is non-compliant, growers have the option to either remediate or dispose of the lot. To remediate hemp, a grower can dispose of the flower material while salvaging the remainder or blend the entire plant to form biomass. Growers must store remediated hemp apart from other plants in a department-approved location.

After remediation, the grower must test the hemp again. The grower can sell it to its buyers if it returns a compliant result. On the other hand, if the hemp still tests above the legal THC limit, then the grower must dispose of the lot. Pro Tip: Industry experts recommend that the grower film the disposal and keep records for at least 3 years.

Laboratory Sampling Requirements

New York requires that laboratories determine the total THC content in a plant after decarboxylation, using the formula: delta-9 THC + (THCA x0.877). Once the laboratory determines the THC quantity, it must calculate the measurement of uncertainty to the results. This distribution range allows room for error. If a plant tests hot, and the grower believes there is a discrepancy, they can request a retest using the same methods.

 

Finished Product Testing Rules

Potency Testing

In addition to hemp flower, New York enacted unique testing rules for finished hemp products. Most states only care about THC or CBD potency. However, New York requires brands to test finished products for an unprecedented 16 different cannabinoids, including CBD, THCA-A, CBC, THCV, and more.

Product labels should include the total THC content and list other “marketed cannabinoids” as ingredients. Finished products can’t contain synthetic cannabinoids or cannabinoids made through the isomerization method–like Delta-8 and Delta 10.

Contaminant Testing

Additionally, hemp brands must test products for potentially harmful substances, including:

  • Heavy metals
  • Mycotoxins
  • Microbial impurities
  • Residual solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Terpenes (If listed on product label or marketing)

New York requires testing for 67 different pesticides, 21 residual solvents, and four heavy metals that could pose a consumer risk. Labels should display a Certificate of Analysis (COA) or have a QR code where consumers can read the laboratory test results.

While COAs aren’t currently required at a federal level, New York recognizes that they are essential to prioritize consumer safety with hemp products. So, to stay ahead of the curve, hemp companies should prioritize quality and consumer safety regardless of where they sell products.

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Navigating Testing Scenarios in New York

It can be challenging for New York hemp operators to determine which tests are required by law. So, let’s discuss some of the various scenarios cultivators, producers, and brands might encounter.

Growers who sell to extractors

If you’re a cultivator who grows unfinished hemp flower to sell to an extractor or producer, then the minimum testing requirement is:

  • THC potency
  • Moisture

Additionally, you should maintain accurate records of the test results to verify your compliance. And keep in mind that although only potency is required, some distributors may request additional testing of your product before purchasing

Processors who receive unfinished hemp products

If you receive unfinished hemp products from a compliant grower that has only undergone THC potency testing, you’ll need to submit samples for:

  • Cannabinoid testing
  • Heavy metals
  • Mycotoxins
  • Microbial impurities
  • Residual solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Terpenes (If listed on product label or marketing material)

If you receive hemp extract from an out-of-state grower, you should keep records to demonstrate that the hemp is compliant with New York’s new regulations.

 

Vertically integrated supply chain operators

If your hemp company handles everything in the hemp manufacturing process, from cultivation to the finished product, then you are responsible for the full range of testing, including:

    • THC potency for raw hemp flower
    • Cannabinoid testing for the finished product
    • Heavy metals
    • Mycotoxins
    • Microbial impurities

  • Residual solvents
  • Pesticides
  • Terpenes (If listed on product label or marketing)

Delta-8 THC Rules

When New York enacted its hemp program last year, regulators excluded hemp-derived extracts from the measures. In fact, New York explicitly prohibited growing the plant for isomerization purposes or creating semi-synthetic cannabinoids. As a result, New York is one of 16 states banning hemp-derived Delta-8 and Delta 10 products.

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The Bottom Line

New York’s stringent testing laws aim to prioritize product safety and quality. As a result, we believe New York, along with states like Florida and Colorado, are raising industry standards to a level that is so desperately needed, and we’re proud to be at the forefront of making it happen.

As a New York-certified laboratory, we’re helping hemp operators remain compliant throughout every step of the process. We offer THC potency testing for unfinished hemp flower and cannabinoid profiling and potency testing for finished products. We also screen for contaminants that could pose a consumer risk, including heavy metals, pesticides, mycotoxins, microbial impurities, and residual solvents.

Our reliable Certificates of Analysis, published in English and Spanish, help hemp companies demonstrate an unmatched commitment to consumer safety and quality. Learn more about submitting samples for testing here.

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