New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) on Tuesday signed the bill creating conditional adult-use cannabis licenses which will allow current hemp cultivators in the state to apply for a license to grow adult-use cannabis during the 2022 growing season.
The bill was approved by the Legislature last week. 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. The bill is an effort to prevent shortages of cannabis when adult-use sales begin, likely sometime in 2023.
“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. 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.” – Hochul in a statement
Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright said the timing of the bill is “critical” to the agency’s efforts to roll out the adult-use program and noted that the mentorship provisions “put equity and inclusion at the forefront of the new cannabis industry” in the state.
Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Chris Alexander said the bill provides regulators “with the tools to make up for lost time.”
“With this bill, we’re putting New York farmers, not big corporations, at the forefront of our industry while protecting public health by delivering safely grown products,” he said in a statement. “We are immediately getting to work implementing the bill so that our farmers can start planting this spring.”
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 the greenhouse flowering canopy remains under 20,000 square feet.