Earlier this year, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill that will allow the state’s 63 licensed hemp farmers to apply for a conditional license to grow cannabis for the adult-use market. Under the law, cultivators would need to meet several criteria, including assurances they will abide by “safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly” farming practices. Qualified applicants must have grown hemp for at least two of the past four years and will be required to participate in a social equity mentorship program, providing training for underserved partners to prepare them for future roles in the industry.
The program aims to accelerate adult-use cannabis production in New York, which was legalized last year. Industrial hemp — marijuana’s low-THC cousin — was previously decriminalized federally in the 2018 Farm Bill, opening a pathway for states to create their own licensing programs regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Essentially, what New York has done is leverage the experience and expertise of existing hemp farms to build a strong foundation for the recreational marijuana market and avoid the mistakes of its predecessors.
– Read the entire article at Benzinga.