The New York Assembly has passed legislation to authorize temporary and conditional licenses for cultivating and processing adult-use cannabis.
On Wednesday, Speaker Carl Heastie and Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes announced the passage of A.9283, marking the start of the adult-use cannabis market in New York.
The bill passed the Senate on February 15.
Speaker Heastie says temporary licenses are the next step in getting the New York market up and running.
According to Heastie, allowing licensed hemp growers to acquire temporary conditional licenses will get the state on track and help others left behind in the industry, like minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBE), get a foot in the door and be successful.
Moving Cannabis Forward
Peoples-Stokes says that in 2021, after many years of fighting, New York enacted the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which started to undo the devastating impact of decades of unequal enforcement of cannabis prohibition.
New York passed the MRTA in March 2021, legalizing adult-use cannabis.
Part of the MRTA required the Office of Cannabis Management to develop and implement a social equity plan to ensure that distressed farmers, service-disabled veterans, people harmed by cannabis criminalization, and MWBEs can participate in the legal industry.
According to Peoples-Stokes, temporary conditional licenses authorized by the bill will help realize MRTA’s vision and goals.
“The 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,” says Peoples-Stokes. “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.”
The legislation calls for a Social Equity Mentorship Program, which Peoples-Stokes says will create a viable and inclusive route for social and economic equity partners to gain knowledge and experience in the cannabis industry.
The legislation would require cultivators and processors to participate in the mentorship program and an environmental sustainability program.
According to a press release from Heastie, A.9283 would authorize temporary cultivation and processing licenses to establish the adult-use cannabis market in a timely manner.
To acquire licenses, applicants would have to possess a valid industrial hemp grower authorization from the Department of Agriculture and Markets as of December 31, 2021.
Applicants would also need to be in good standing and have grown and harvested hemp for at least two of the last four years.
Growers with temporary conditional licenses could cultivate cannabis outdoors or in a greenhouse with as many as 20 grow lights.
A temporary adult-use license would permit processors to manufacture and distribute cannabis products.
Conditional processors and cultivators would need to apply for distributor licenses on June 1, 2023.
The licenses would be valid until June 20, 2024.