Central New York CBD retailer to close, citing state’s changing regulations

Central New York CBD retailer to close, citing state’s changing regulations

Syracuse, N.Y. — Empire CBD, a local hemp-cannabis retailer that once had shops across Central New York, is closing its last outlet.

The Empire CBD at Destiny USA will likely close by the end of April, according to owner Yardley Burgess. Two other shops, at Salmon Run Mall in Watertown and Sangertown Mall in New Hartford, closed earlier this year.

Burgess, who once operated as many as six Empire CBD outlets, said he’s frustrated by continuing changes to the state’s regulations for selling hemp cannabis (not marijuana) products. In particular he cited a regulation that he said would require him to obtain a wholesale license to continue to sell out-of-state CBD products.

“I’m tired of having to pivot every few months,” Burgess told syracuse.com today. “Every time they make these changes, they take the profit right out of the company.”

It’s the second time Burgess has closed Empire CBD stores in the past six months. He closed in the fall after the state moved to ban Delta 8, a version of CBD that he says has been a major driver of his sales. He reopened the Destiny, Sangertown and Salmon Run shops a few months later.

“I have chosen to close the company because NY State has made in impossible for a CBD Company to make it with continually changing the rules and regulations when it comes to CBD,” he posted on the Empire CBD web site. “They have made several laws to prevent certain hemp products from being available and now they won’t allow quality products to be on the shelf by limiting all products with the requirement of them being grown, produced and manufactured in NY State.”

Empire CBD sells items like salves, tinctures and gummi candies containing cannabidiol (CBD). Those products are made from hemp, which, like marijuana, is a species of cannabis. But it does not produce as much THC, the compound that creates the marijuana ‘high.” Under the law, CBD products in New York must contain less than 0.3% THC.

Recreational marijuana use is now legal in New York, but the state has not yet issued retail sales licenses.

The state’s Cannabis Control Board has banned Delta 8 and Delta 10 versions of CBD, but may “address Delta-8 as part of the adult-use (recreational marijuana) program as it is intoxicating,” according to Freeman Klopott, spokesman for the state Office of Cannabis Management.

Burgess hopes to keep the Destiny shop open through the end of April, depending on his supply. He is offering up to 70% off on products in stock.

He is currently selling Delta 8 products, but believes the state will effectively prohibit that by about April 8.

Owner Yardley Burgess at the Empire CBD stand at the 2019 New York State Fair.

Meanwhile, Burgess said he still harbors hopes he can obtain a license to sell recreational marijuana (containing THC), once the state opens that market up. The issuing of licenses may not happen until the end of the year.

New York’s Cannabis Control Board has said it will give first shot at those licenses to those who were convicted of marijuana offenses that are no longer considered crimes. Preference is also given to other groups, including disabled military veterans.

Burgess qualifies under both provisions, but he is still worried about the state’s regulations and license fees.

“I’d like to (sell recreational marijuana),” he said. “But it all depends on what the state is doing.”

More on marijuana and cannabis in NY state:

NY legal weed: Changing community perception

NY cannabis business leaders to speak, network at major event: Panels, topics, ticket info

In wake of marijuana legalization, NY police focus on impaired driving

There are only a few days left to get tickets to the NY Cannabis Insider Live conference on March 31! Learn from experts and insiders how to finance your cannabis business, source and secure capital, change community perception around opt-outs and understand the role Native American Nations play in the industry.

Don Cazentre writes for NYup.com, syracuse.com and The Post-Standard. Reach him at dcazentre@nyup.com, or follow him at NYup.com, on Twitter or Facebook.

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