New York Senator Jeremy Cooney recently introduced a new bill that would speed up the state’s cannabis cultivation efforts. Senate Bill S7295 would create provisional licenses for cultivators before the full legalization takes effect next year.
Legislative Vs. Agricultural Timelines
What most people don’t understand regarding cannabis legalization is that oftentimes the timelines don’t line up. For New York, cannabis legalization will occur in 2022, including cultivation, possession, and legal distribution. The problem with this is that it puts growers in a difficult position. There isn’t a way to legally grow cannabis before sales are legal, creating a delay in sales. In other words, legalizing both cultivation and distribution simultaneously puts new growers at a disadvantage. On top of that, growers must wait six months after Cuomo legalized cannabis before they can begin cultivating it.
“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,” Cooney said in a press release. “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.”
If passed, SBS7295 will create a provisional license for cultivators so they can start growing as soon as possible. This license would provide the same benefits as a cultivator’s license for the time being. Additionally, if these licenses aren’t available to growers by Jan. 1, 2021, the Department of Agriculture will have the power to establish licenses.
New York and Cannabis Legalization
New York is one of the many states to legalize cannabis and take steps towards federal legalization recently. The state legalized cannabis on March 31 with the signature of Governor Andrew Cuomo. This officially made the state the 15th in the country to legalize recreational cannabis. As a result, adults 21 and over can grow six plants at home and 12 per household. They can also possess up to three-ounce of cannabis. On top of that, the local government will expunge criminal records for those who have minor cannabis possession convictions. Unfortunately, some businesses suspect sales won’t be fully functional until December 2022.
“This is a historic day in New York—one that rights the wrongs of the past by putting an end to harsh prison sentences, embraces an industry that will grow the Empire State’s economy, and prioritizes marginalized communities, so those that have suffered the most will be the first to reap the benefits,” Cuomo said in a press release.
“The adult-use cannabis industry is projected to be a multi-billion dollar industry in the state of New York,” the bill text reads. “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.”
Currently, the Senate Rules Committee is discussing this bill. You can follow the progress and status here.