New legislation would fast track New York hemp producers to make cannabis products for the incoming adult-use market.
The bill, which has been cleared by the state assembly and senate, authorizes already-licensed hemp growers to get conditional licences for cannabis production in the forthcoming recreational sector.
Gov. Kathy Hochul, who has been supportive of advancing cannabis regulations, still needs to give final approval of the legislation.
These temporary licences are the next step in getting the state’s market up and running, assembly speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement Wednesday.
“Allowing already licensed hemp growers to obtain temporary conditional licenses will not only get New York on track, but it will require they help others — especially [minority and women-owned businesses] and others who are frequently left behind in this industry — get a foot in the door and be successful.”
Assembly majority leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, who sponsored the legislation, said its passage is necessary to “help secure enough safe, regulated, and environmentally conscious cannabis products to meet the demand of the adult-use cannabis market when retail dispensaries open.”
Producers must be authorized by the department of agriculture, and have produced hemp for two out of the past four years to be eligible. The legislation requires that they participate in both social-equity mentorship and environmental sustainability programs.
On June 1, 2023, licensed cultivators and processors would have to apply for a distributor licence. All of these temporary licences will expire on June 30, 2024.
But consumers will still have to wait for stores to come online. New York’s Office of Cannabis Management has yet to create rules to govern over an adult-use market.
According to past statements, retail licences aren’t expected to be issued until next year.