New York issues first recreational cannabis cultivation licenses

New York state regulators approved the first round of recreational cannabis cultivation licenses, issuing 52 permits to local hemp farmers under a new law aimed at ensuring adequate MJ supplies for the state’s impending adult-use market.

The approval comes almost two months after Gov. Kathy Hochul signed into law a first-of-its-kind “conditional adult-use cultivator” license.

The permits are intended to accelerate the cultivation and processing of recreational marijuana to avoid lengthy delays and shortages.

The licenses also are aimed at boosting diversity within the industry, with hemp farmers getting an early opportunity to enter the adult-use market.

According to The (Syracuse) Post-Standard, some of the newly licensed growers say their first harvests could be ready f0r sale within six months.

Christopher Alexander, head of the Office of Cannabis Management, told The Post-Standard that he expects marijuana from these newly licensed growers to go on sale at conditionally licensed retailers this year.

The conditional marijuana growing licenses allow farmers to “minimally process and distribute cannabis products, provided that such final products shall be in the form of cannabis flower.”

Companies that received the permits may start growing marijuana outdoors or in a greenhouse with up to 20 supplemental lights.

The state’s Office of Cannabis Management has received more than 150 applications for conditional cultivator licenses, counting the 52 approved in the first round.

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“We’re going to continue to process applications on a rolling basis and working to get them to the board for approval as quickly as possible,” Alexander told The Post-Standard.

Conditional license winners are required to apply for full permits by June 1. The provisional licenses expire June 30, 2024.