New York Passes Bill to Let Hemp Farmers Start Growing for Adult-Use Cannabis Program

New York lawmakers passed a bill to let hemp cultivators and processors obtain early conditional licenses for the state’s adult-use cannabis program.

Full story after the jump.

The New York Legislature has approved a bill that will allow the state’s licensed hemp growers to obtain early, conditional licenses to cultivate and process cannabis for the state’s adult-use program, News10 reports. Farmers eligible to obtain a temporary conditional license must have a valid industrial hemp grower authorization and must have grown or harvested hemp for at least two years.

Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D) said the bill will allow growers to get crops into the ground “this year and grow it through the summer and have it processed and ready to be distributed to the retail outlets and offered for sale in the springtime.”

Tremaine Wright, the head of New York’s Cannabis Control Board, has indicated that licensing would likely begin in spring 2023; however, Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) Executive Director Chris Alexander said last week that officials could release industry regulations in May, which would likely put sales on track for spring 2023.

Both cultivator and processor licensees would be required to participate in a social equity mentorship program and an environmental sustainability program. The bill also includes an agreement that allows cannabis farm workers to unionize.

In a statement, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D) said the bill will help the state “meet the demand of the adult-use cannabis market when retail dispensaries open.”

“With the passage of this bill, we have the opportunity to create a responsible start to the adult-use cannabis industry by authorizing temporary conditional cultivator and processor licenses to current New York hemp farmers,” she said.

The measure would allow for growing cannabis outdoors or in greenhouses with up to 20 lights. It moves next to Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) for final approval.

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