Newly Signed New York Law Allows Hemp Growers to Cultivate Cannabis
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed legislation (Senate Bill S8084A) creating a new Conditional Adult-use Cannabis Cultivator license, establishing a pathway for existing New York hemp farmers to apply for a conditional license to grow cannabis in the 2022 growing season for the forthcoming adult-use cannabis market. Under the law, conditionally licensed cannabis farmers must meet certain requirements, including safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly cultivation practices, participation in a social equity mentorship program, and engagement in a labor peace agreement with a bona fide labor organization.
With a conditional adult-use cannabis cultivation license, farmers can grow outdoors or in a greenhouse for up to two years from the issuance of the license. It also allows them to manufacture and distribute cannabis flower products without holding an adult-use processor or distributor license, until June 1, 2023. Cultivators are limited to one acre (43,560 square feet) of flowering canopy outdoors or 25,000 square feet in a greenhouse and can use up to 20 artificial lights. They can also split between outdoor and greenhouse grows with a maximum total canopy of 30,000 square feet as long as greenhouse flowering canopy remains under 20,000 square feet.
Holders of the license must also participate in a social equity mentorship program where they provide training in cannabis cultivation and processing for social and economic equity partners, preparing them for potential roles in the industry. Growers will also have to meet sustainability requirements to ensure the cannabis is grown in an environmentally conscientious way.
Gov. Hochul’s action today builds on the quick work she and the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) have undertaken to bring the new cannabis industry to life in New York. In January, the Governor’s Executive Budget proposed a $200 million program that will use industry licensing fees and revenue to provide support to eligible applicants from communities impacted by the overcriminalization of cannabis during its prohibition. The Governor and the Legislature also moved quickly to appoint the Cannabis Control Board and OCM leadership within weeks of the start of her administration. Since the board held its first meeting on Oct. 5, the OCM has:
- Launched the Cannabinoid Hemp Program, putting in place protections for the public and provisions to help New York’s CBD businesses compete;
- Vastly expanded access to the Medical Cannabis Program, including empowering health care providers to determine if medical cannabis can help their patients, lowering costs by permanently waiving patient fees and allowing the sale of whole flower, and growing the list of providers who can certify patients; and
- Launched its first wave of community outreach events with 11 regional events, including one in Spanish, that’s already engaged more than 5,000 attendees; and
- Developed a pipeline of talented professionals to join the Office’s growing team and built the infrastructure to support the office.
The New York Growers and Processors Association (NYCGPA) has been a proponent of Senate Bill S8084A. “This bill is a signal from leadership in Albany that they see the disaster that has been wrought upon cannabis industries across the country by allowing massive out-of-state corporations to run the table,” NYCGPA said in a tweet on Feb. 17. “They have chosen instead to put small and midscale NYS businesses first.”
This is a momentous win for NY’s hemp farmers and greater agricultural community. We thank @GovKathyHochul for her continued commitment to getting the NY adult-use market off the ground and establishing a legal industry committed to economic development, opportunity, and equity. pic.twitter.com/QFYVsYCUrK
— NY Cannabis Growers & Processors Association (@NYCGPA) February 22, 2022