New York’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB) brought the state a few steps closer to launching adult-use sales Aug. 15 when regulators issued additional business licenses, approved testing regulations and appointed a director of policy to the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM).

Officials issued 15 adult-use cannabis processor licenses Monday, according to a WROC report, as well as 19 new conditional cultivation licenses, bringing the total number of licensed growers to 242.

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To qualify for a processor license, applicants must have a Cannabinoid Hemp Processor license, the news outlet reported, and once awarded a license, businesses must participate in a mentorship program that aims to provide entrepreneurship opportunities, establish environmentally sustainable practices in the industry and ensure those with cannabis-related convictions can participate in the market.

“New York is launching our cannabis industry the right way, and our cannabis processors are an integral part of that,” OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander said in a statement, according to WROC. “These processors aren’t just expanding their own businesses, they are committed to also mentoring the next generation of cannabis processors. They’ll be teaching vital manufacturing skills to those with a passion for cannabis who will take our state’s industry to the next level. New York’s entire cannabis ecosystem will create opportunities for those who have been shut out of jobs and industry, and will bring those skills to communities across the state.”

“Processors aren’t just an important part of the cannabis supply chain, they are creators, who take a raw plant and transform it into tested, consistent, high-quality products that consumers can trust,” CCB Chair Tremaine Wright said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “When we open New York’s first stores, owned and operated by New Yorkers harmed by the misguided criminalization of cannabis, the shelves will be lined with infused edibles, topical creams and concentrated oils. None of those products would be possible without these first processors launching New York’s cannabis industry.”

Regulators will begin accepting adult-use cannabis dispensary license applications Aug. 25, and applicants with prior cannabis-related convictions will be first in line to receive licenses as part of New York’s previously announced Seeding Opportunity Initiative, which aims to prioritize those most impacted by the war on drugs in the state’s adult-use cannabis licensing process.

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In addition to awarding the licenses, the CCB approved interim regulations Monday for New York’s cannabis testing labs, which will ensure adult-use cannabis products are not contaminated with pesticides, heavy metals or other “adulterations,” WROC reported.

The rules will allow medical cannabis testing labs to expand their operations to serve the adult-use market, as well, according to the news outlet, and labs interested in testing cannabis products are now able to apply for licenses.

State officials have also appointed John Kagia, who has served as the Chief Knowledge Officer for New Frontier Data, as the director of policy for the OCM, according to a Spectrum News report.

Adult-use cannabis sales are expected to launch in New York later this year.