Senator Michelle Hinchey’s Bill to Speed up Cannabis Cultivation in New York Signed into Law by Governor Hochul

Michelle Hinchey

February 22, 2022

ALBANY, NY Senator Michelle Hinchey today announced the signing of her bill to create a new Conditional Adult-use Cannabis Cultivator license establishing a pathway for existing hemp farmers in New York to apply for a temporary license to grow cannabis in the 2022 growing season for the forthcoming cannabis market. The legislation (S8084A/A9283) allows the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) to begin issuing temporary cannabis cultivator and processor licenses to hemp farmers that have grown and harvested hemp for at least two of the past four years in order to speed up the establishment of the New York’s legal cannabis industry. On June 1, 2023, both cultivators and processors must apply for a distributor license, with all temporary licenses expiring on June 30, 2024.

The legislation also advances the adult-use program’s social equity goals by requiring conditional license holders to participate in a social equity mentorship program under which they will provide training in cannabis cultivation and processing for social and economic equity partners, preparing them for potential roles in the industry. Growers must also meet sustainability requirements to ensure that cannabis is grown in an environmentally conscious way.

Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “Today is an exciting day in New York as our bill to give New York farmers the ability to start the cannabis market is signed into law. The MRTA set the foundation for our state to build a truly circular cannabis economy that puts New York farmers and small business dispensaries at the center of growth and production, and with the signing of this bill, farmers can now put seeds in the ground to ensure we meet the demand of this burgeoning industry. I thank Governor Hochul for her quick action on this bill so that we can get to work building the most forward-thinking and socially-equitable cannabis industry in the country.”

"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," Governor Hochul said. "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."  

Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, "Last year, after many years of fighting, we finally enacted the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, and are beginning to undo the devastating impacts over ninety years of unequal enforcement of marijuana prohibition had on too many lives and communities. MRTA ensures that the legal adult-use market will be centered on equity and economic justice for communities of color and individuals that have been harmed most by the War on Drugs in the State of New York. With the passage of this bill, we have the opportunity to create a responsible start to the adult-use cannabis industry by authorizing temporary conditional cultivator and processor licenses to current New York hemp farmers. This authority will help secure enough safe, regulated, and environmentally conscious cannabis products to meet the demand of the adult-use cannabis market when retail dispensaries open. Importantly, this legislation calls for a Social Equity Mentorship Program, which will create a viable and inclusive path for social and economic equity partners interested in cannabis cultivation and processing to gain invaluable knowledge and experience in this emerging industry. The temporary conditional licenses authorized by this bill will ultimately help realize the vision and goals of the MRTA.'' 


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