Assembly Passes Legislation to Begin Cultivation of Adult Use Marijuana

Speaker Carl Heastie and Majority Leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes today announced that the Assembly has passed legislation that will authorize temporary and conditional licenses for the cultivation and processing of adult use marijuana, beginning the establishment of the adult use cannabis market (A.9283, Peoples-Stokes).

“These temporary licenses are the next step in getting our state’s market up and running,” Speaker Heastie said. “Allowing already licensed hemp growers to obtain temporary conditional licenses will not only get New York on track, but it will require they help others – especially MWBEs and others who are frequently left behind in this industry – get a foot in the door and be successful.”

Majority Leader 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 90 years of unequal enforcement of marijuana prohibition had on too many lives and communities. 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. 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.”

This legislation would authorize temporary conditional adult use licenses for cultivating and processing in order to establish the adult use cannabis market in a timely manner. Eligible applicants would need to have possessed a valid industrial hemp grower authorization from the Department of Agriculture and Markets as of December 31, 2021, be in good standing, and have grown and harvested hemp for at least two of the last four years. Temporary conditional adult use cultivator licenses would permit licensees to grow cannabis outdoors or in a greenhouse with up to 20 artificial lights. The temporary conditional adult use processor license would permit licensees to manufacture and distribute cannabis products. On June 1, 2023, both conditional cultivators and processors would be required to apply for a distributor license. Both licenses would end on June 30, 2024.

Today’s bill would require that both cultivator and processor licensees participate in a social equity mentorship program as well as an environmental sustainability program, which would help future cultivators and processors who are interested in gaining experience and knowledge from those with industry experience.

In March of last year, New York State passed the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA), which legalized the adult use of marijuana. As a part of the MRTA, the Office of Cannabis Management was tasked with developing and implementing a social equity plan to ensure that individuals previously harmed by drug laws, minority and women owned businesses (MWBE), distressed farmers and service-disabled veterans are able to participate in the legal cannabis industry.