N.Y. lawmakers approve bill to speed up recreational marijuana cultivation

A bill that will allow New York cannabis farmers to start planting recreational-use marijuana this year is headed to Gov. Hochul’s desk, after both houses of New York’s state legislature approved it.

If signed, the legislation would allow the state to immediately begin issuing temporary adult-use cannabis cultivation licenses to hemp farmers that have grown and harvested hemp (another form of cannabis) for at least two of the past four years. It also authorizes the state to grant temporary licenses to adult-use cannabis processors.

“This [legislation] 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,” state Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, who sponsored the bill, said in a statement Wednesday after a 99-43 Assembly vote passed the measure.

Hochul’s office said the governor is reviewing the bill.

According to the legislation, the state needs to start allowing some farmers and processors to start operations in order to speed up establishment of the adult-use cannabis market. Advocates for provisional licensing also say it’s necessary to ensure dispensaries that open will have products to sell.

Office of Cannabis Management Executive Director Chris Alexander this week said OCM plans on releasing some draft regulations for full licensing in late winter or early spring, and all proposed regulations by May. Cannabis Control Board Chair Tremaine Wright has said CCB will likely begin issuing adult-use cannabis licenses in spring of 2023.

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