New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed legislation to help jumpstart the state’s forthcoming adult-use cannabis market.
Signed into law on Feb. 22, Senate Bill S8084 will allow hemp farmers to apply for a new Conditional Adult-Use Cannabis Cultivator license to grow cannabis during the 2022 growing season to supply the adult-use market.
Once conditionally licensed, hemp growers must meet certain requirements outlined in the law, 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, according to a press release announcing the bill signing.
“I am proud to sign this bill, which positions New York's farmers to be the first to grow cannabis and jumpstart the safe, equitable and inclusive new industry we are building,” Hochul said in a public statement. “New York State will continue to lead the way in delivering on our commitment to bring economic opportunity and growth to every New Yorker in every corner of our great state.”
The conditional licenses will allow hemp farmers to grow cannabis outdoors or in a greenhouse for up to two years from the date the license is issued.
Cultivation space will be limited to one acre of flowering canopy outdoors or 25,000 square feet in a greenhouse with up to 20 artificial lights. Growers may also split cultivation space between outdoor and greenhouse operations with a maximum total canopy of 30,000 square feet, but the greenhouse flowering canopy must remain under 20,000 square feet.
Conditional licensees will also be authorized to manufacture and distribute cannabis flower products without holding an adult-use processor or distributor license until June 1, 2023.
Now that S.B. S8084 has been signed into law, the New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) will develop a license application process.
To qualify for a license, applicants must have been an authorized industrial hemp research partner for the Department of Agriculture and Markets and must have cultivated hemp for at least two of the past four years with a license in good standing as of Dec. 31, 2021, when the research program ended.
“I am thankful to the governor and Legislature for supporting our efforts to build a safe, accessible and stable New York cannabis industry,” Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said in a public statement. “This law places New York's farmers first in line to grow cannabis, the timing of which is critical to our efforts to roll out the adult use program. With this bill, we're continuing to put equity and inclusion at the forefront of the new cannabis industry we're building."