New York’s marijuana regulators say they are working to launch a pilot program to allow hemp farmers markets that could begin “within a month.”
At a town hall event for growers hosted by the Hemp Association of New York (CANY) on Thursday, officials from the state Office of Hemp Management (OCM) said that marijuana farmers markets can help meet consumer demand while allowing growers to finally get products that last year were grown for the legal market.
The rules for the New York Cannabis Growers Showcase program have not been released, and OCM policy director John Caggia said there are “a few issues that we’re still working on internally, but we have permission here to discuss it. »
The plan for the stands is to have “at least three growers” and at least one licensed retailer to host farmers’ market events in communities that allow them.
At least initially, on-site consumption would be banned, as allowing people to use marijuana in markets would require additional approval from the state Department of Health. Additionally, organizers must ensure that alcohol is also not sold at events.
OCM Chief Capital Officer Damian Fagon said at the event, which was first reported by New York Cannabis Insider, that regulators hope to have farmers markets ready to open “within a month hopefully.”
With more cooperation from licensees, #NYcannabis growers and retailers can create new opportunities for themselves and their communities.
The Cannabis Growers Showcase is a farmer’s market model where a minimum of:
3 growers can partner with 1 retailer to host an event https://t.co/IPW3Q8NmHD
— NYS Office of Cannabis Management (@nys_cannabis) May 26, 2023
In theory, farmers could apply for municipal approval and hold farmers markets on their property. Or they may seek to join other events, such as concerts and festivals, that are organized separately.
With more than a dozen licensed retailers currently operating in New York, the alternative sales model could help expand access while regulators work on additional legal storefronts.
“We think this is really important because it does two things,” Kagia said. “One, it allows growers to get in front of consumers who are going to buy a legally regulated product in New York, and it allows you to tell your stories.”
“Two, it allows you to sell the product much faster across the state, so the idea would be that retailers would be limited to the counties where they’re authorized to operate, but growers would be able to do it anywhere. in the state.”
The announcement of the farmers market pilot program comes as the administration of Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) ramps up its efforts to move people to the legal market, despite the approval of retail licenses to date.
That includes launching a public education campaign last month to encourage adults to buy their marijuana from licensed stores to make sure the products are safe and that the proceeds are used to advance equity and reinvestment goals.
The New York Senate also recently formed a committee focused solely on marijuana, which will work with regulators as the state’s cannabis market evolves.
Officials announced in March that they were doubling the number of conditional marijuana licenses that could be approved, from 150 to 300, after receiving feedback from some applicants that they would be able to open stores more quickly without additional support from the state. program designed to help eligible organizations establish physical locations.
The governor also recently introduced legislation to increase enforcement powers to crack down on illegal marijuana retailers as the state struggles to crack down on the regulated adult market.
In February, Hochul visited a cannabis retailer, though he didn’t buy anything, even as he signaled that he was open to trying marijuana in the future.
In December, Hochul separately introduced a marijuana business and product verification tool that plans to place a QR code on licensed cannabis retailers and a universal symbol label for authorized cannabis products.
He also signed a bill in late November aimed at expanding the state’s hemp market by fostering collaborative partnerships to explore more opportunities to use the crop and its derivatives for packaging, construction and other purposes.
California officials award more than $50 million in marijuana tax-funded community reinvestment grants
Photo by Mike Latimer.