New York is clearing the way for existing hemp growers to grow cannabis this spring, in an effort to bolster marijuana supply and equity.
On Tuesday, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation to create new conditional cannabis processing and cultivation licenses, which will allow groups to grow marijuana or help prepare cannabis products through June. 2023. After that, they can apply for a permanent license like those for distribution. or treatment.
“This legislation is an important step in ensuring an adequate supply of cannabis for the adult consumer market while putting New York farmers first, supporting social and economic equity mentorship programs” and “encouraging environmentally sustainable agricultural practices,” Senator Liz Krueger, a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement from the governor’s office.
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Who would get the licenses?
The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, the state law legalizing cannabis use by adults, sets a goal of giving 50% of licenses to social equity applicants such as women and war-affected people against drugs.
To obtain the Conditional Adult Cannabis Cultivation License, farmers must be part of a social equity mentorship program, where they will provide training on cannabis cultivation and processing to social equity partners and economic, the statement said.
Licensees must also have been an authorized Industrial Hemp Research Partner with the State Department of Agriculture and Markets.
There were 742 licensed producers in the research group at the end of the program, Office of Cannabis Management spokesman Freeman Klopott said Wednesday.
The racial or gender breakdown of participants in this group, which could provide insight into who might get some of the early conditional licenses, was not immediately clear because the state Department of Agriculture and Markets did not recorded these numbers.
“We do not currently, and have not in the past, asked for ethnicity or gender when applying for a hemp grower’s authorization or license,” a spokeswoman for the agency said Wednesday. department.
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Moving forward with the growth of cannabis in New York
The decision to greenlight the new licenses also accelerates the rollout of marijuana while helping to ensure that the supply of legal cannabis will be sufficient to meet retail operations, which are expected to begin licensing next year. , state officials said.
Michelle Bodian, an attorney at Vicente Sederberg LLP and chair of the company’s hemp and cannabinoids department in New York, said products made under the legislation should be restricted to retail sale. Hemp companies, she noted, could not sell the products directly to consumers.
Growers must also produce marijuana in an “environmentally friendly manner,” the statement said.
Licensed growers can grow an acre of flowering canopy or 25,000 square feet in a greenhouse using up to 20 artificial lights.
They can also split between outdoor and greenhouse crops, with a maximum total canopy of 30,000 square feet, as long as the greenhouse flowering canopy remains below 20,000 square feet.
Tiffany Cusaac-Smith covers race and justice for the USA TODAY Network in New York. Click here for his latest stories. Follow her on Twitter @T_Cusaac.