New York State Senator Aims To Speed Up Legal Cannabis Program Launch With New Cultivation Bill

New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney presented a cannabis cultivation bill on July 20, which would enable farmers to start growing and selling cannabis prior to the official launch of the state's recreational marijuana program

New York became the 15th state in the U.S. to legalize adult-use cannabis this March when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. Setting up the rules and regulations for the state's comprehensive program could take anywhere from 18 months to two years, according to experts. This means the Empire State's recreational cannabis program could roll out as late as March 2023. 

To accelerate the launch and help get the process rolling, Cooney introduced  

Senate Bill S7295, which would create a recreational provisional cultivation license enabling growers to start planting their cannabis seeds prior to the formal launch of the program. Temporary licenses will allow businesses to operate in the event that the program's regulations are not completed by January 1, 2022. The rules and regulations are being worked out by the state's Office of Cannabis Management, a newly created department which, Cooney says is not fully functional nor currently operating.

Accelerating Economic Benefits 

 “This bill enables New York cannabis farmers to put seeds in the ground so that the economic benefits of legalizing marijuana are not delayed for another growing season,” said Cooney, who is co-chair of the Black Puerto Rican Hispanic and Asian (BPHA) Legislative Caucus’ Marijuana Task Force

“We passed adult-use recreational marijuana with the promise of investing in communities most negatively impacted by the failed War on Drugs. This bill allows us to start fulfilling that promise by creating a supply chain of products for retailers in this new economy,” Cooney added.

Cooney's bill further enables the Department of Agriculture and Markets to establish and issue licenses if the cannabis board has not created either the cultivator’s license or a cultivator’s provisional license by January 1, 2022. 

The adult-use cannabis industry is projected to be a multi-billion dollar industry in the state of New York. In order to prepare for future cannabis sales, cultivators and farmers across the state will need to take advanced steps to obtain and begin growing the necessary crops. Seeds need to be planted by June 2022, and sources of these seeds need to be located even earlier than that. Because of this, growers may need authorization before the adult-use cultivator’s licenses may be in place,” Cooney's bill states. 

The bill now heads to the Senate Rules Committee for assessment. 

Photo: Courtesy of CRYSTALWEED cannabis on Unsplash

Posted In: CannabisNewsMarketsAndrew CuomoJeremy CooneyNew York Adult-use ProgramNew York CannabisNew York Cultivation Bill

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