Hemp farmers in New York could grow up to an acre of marijuana this summer if legislation making its way through the Capitol becomes law.
On Tuesday, the state Senate passed a bill that provides conditional cannabis farming licenses for New Yorkers who have been growing hemp for at least two years in New York. The measure is expected to come up for a vote in the Assembly on Wednesday, according to two sources.
Proponents of the conditional licenses say that they’re necessary to ensure that New York farmers have time to plant marijuana crops outdoors for this growing season. If the state was to award licenses following the traditional regulatory rulemaking process, it’s likely that farmers would miss this year’s window for outdoor cultivation.
This timing matters because state regulators are hoping to open up marijuana dispensaries this fall in New York, which they can’t do without products to stock their shelves, and they’re not allowed to sell marijuana grown in other states or by unlicensed, in-state operations.
“This legislation will allow New York growers to get seeds in the soil to jumpstart this new economic sector and start creating good paying local jobs,” said Sen. Jeremy Cooney, a Rochester Democrat, who co-sponsors the legislation.