The New York Farm Bureau on Monday endorsed cannabis legalization in the state, calling the reforms a “potential opportunity” for the state’s agricultural industry, according to a Democrat and Chronicle report. The memorandum of support points out that the legislation being considered by lawmakers gives farmers priority consideration for cultivation licenses.
“For a successful implementation of a cannabis program in New York State, if legalized, farmers must have an active role in the growth and production, as well as development and implementation of the recreational cannabis program.” — New York farm Bureau, June 10 memo of support
The memo notes that there has been a 6 percent drop in the state’s farms since 2012 accompanied by a 9 percent increase in labor costs for farmers, along with a lower average net income for the sector compared to the rest of the nation.
The memo was met with opposition from cannabis opposition group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, whose president Kevin Sabet said the bureau had “fallen prey to one of the biggest lies pushed by Big Marijuana” – that a retail cannabis industry will help the state’s lagging economy.
“This industry isn’t about helping small family farms,” Sabet said in a statement to the Democrat and Chronicle. “It’s about investors, backed by Big Tobacco, Wall Street and the alcohol industry, getting rich off high-potency THC products like waxes, gummy bears, and edibles.”
According to a LoHud report, SAM has spent $10,000 on anti-cannabis billboards and $14,500 on anti-legalization lobbying efforts this session.
Pro-legalization lawmakers are pushing for the reforms as the state’s session winds down. A June 5 Democrat and Chronicle report found 30 Senate Democrats support the measure, which needs 32 votes to pass the chamber. Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes told the Democrat and Chronicle that she believes that there are enough votes in the chamber to pass the bill.
In New York, Democrats control both legislative chambers and the governor’s office. Gov. Andrew Cuomo had included legalization in his budget plans and has indicated he would sign the legalization legislation if it received legislative approval. The state session adjourns June 19.
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