The Cannabis Crop Rescue Act was introduced May 19 by state Democratic Sen. Michelle Hinchey and passed in June, but is waiting for Governor Kathy Hochul to sign the legislation into law.
Sixty-six state lawmakers, including Democratic Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Democratic Senate Finance Committee Chair Liz Krueger, who sponsored New York’s cannabis legalization law sent a letter dated September 25 asking the Governor to hurry up and sign the Act.
Very simply, the extended timeline of New York State’s troubled rollout of the licensing and regulations establishing a safe, legal market for adult-use cannabis has had a significant negative impact on New York’s licensed cannabis farmers who invested in crops they now have limited places to sell. The crop is also losing value by the day. Regulatory delays, lawsuits, and logistical andfinancing challenges have caused the state to miss its timelines and targets. However, cultivators are the group paying the steepest price.
The letter also suggests that allowing the cultivators to sell their products to the New York Tribal Nations would be a quick solution to help them recover their costs. The farmers were assured by the Office of Cannabis Management that there would be numerous stores open and available to sell their crops. Instead only 23 stores have opened and the program is currently on hold due to legal challenges. This has resulted in 250,000 pounds of unsold cannabis which has a limited shelf life.
Allowing these farmers to sell their cannabis to purchasing agents from New York’s Tribal Nations can be a short-term solution. These Tribal dispensaries would benefit from access to a source of local, safe, laboratory-tested products. Farmers would benefit from a new pathway to sell their products. Along with the Cannabis Grower’s Showcases, it could be the financial lifeline they need right now.
The Cannabis Grower’s Showcase was meant to be a solution to help the farmers sell their harvested cannabis, but the sales haven’t been enough to make a dent in the unsold pounds. The farmers complain that they can’t advertise the events making it hard to get the word out about the showcases. In addition to that, the farmers have to align themselves with a dispensary in order to do the farmers markets.
The farmers say that the process puts all the work on them with little return. They have to travel to the showcase and set up their booths at their own expense, but can’t sell directly to the consumer. That means the dispensaries just show up and ring the sales, collecting a nice profit, while the farmers manage to unload some product but the profits are outweighing the expense of the setup.
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