The New York governor’s office is reconsidering a proposal to permit the sale of locally cultivated cannabis at farmers’ markets during the summer season. The initiative had the potential to greatly benefit an estimated 200 farmers who had acquired licenses to grow cannabis under the supervision of the state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), which oversees New York’s emerging legal marijuana industry.
Since the legalization of recreational cannabis use for adults more than two years ago, the state has provisionally approved more than 150 retail licenses. However, due to delays and financial constraints, only approximately 20 stores have managed to open across the entire state. Consequently, cannabis growers find themselves in a predicament, struggling to find legal avenues to sell their harvest.
During a town hall meeting in May 2023, the director of policy, John Kagia, outlined a proposal that would allow farmers to set up booths at summer farmers markets, creating an opportunity for adults aged 21 years old and above to purchase their products. Kagia suggested that farmers could participate in these markets through licensed retailers authorized by the state.
“We are exploring a wide range of venues,” Kagia expressed, emphasizing the possibility of establishing a dedicated market exclusively for cannabis growers. The market could potentially be integrated into existing events such as concerts or festivals, providing the growers with an opportunity to showcase their produce. Kagia assured the growers that he had the necessary authorization to discuss these plans at a high level.
“We anticipate that the farmers markets will serve as a gateway to unlock the potential of this product and allow New Yorkers to experience the exceptional quality of your cultivated goods,” Kagia asserted, receiving positive feedback from many of the growers.
At the time of the meeting, officials anticipated that sales would commence within a few weeks. However, the passing of those weeks, along with the conclusion of the July 4th holiday weekend, has not seen any significant progress made on the proposed plans.
Last week, an OCM spokesperson adopted a more neutral stance toward the proposal. Aaron Ghitelman conveyed the office’s openness to considering opportunities to strengthen the state’s cannabis industry. However, he also emphasized that no final decisions had been made regarding the inclusion of farmers markets.
The implementation of the farmers market model faces potential obstacles, including opposition from certain local governments toward retail marijuana dispensaries. Additionally, the fact that cannabis remains illegal under federal law poses a challenge, as the markets could potentially jeopardize federal funding.
This backpedaling by the authorities in New York could hamper the plans of some growers to acquire additional equipment from the likes of Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) in order to scale their cannabis cultivation operations.
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