The first recreational legal marijuana market in New York is starting to sprout. Here's more on its progress.
The license is valid for a period of two years
The first thin-leafed plants are stretching outwards on farms across the state since the legalization earlier this year. New York gave 203 hemp growers the first shot at cultivating marijuana destined for legal sales, which could start by the end of the year. Moreover, large indoor growers are also expected to join later.
“It is an opportunity, there's obviously going to be a demand for it,” stated Frank Popolizio. Popolizio from Homestead Farms and Ranch north of Albany is tending to a half-acre plot. His plot will be growing over 1,000 plants and is surrounded by a tall electrified fence. He and other conditional cultivator license holders can grow the plants in up to one acre of land outdoors.
The license is valid for a period of two years. The holders will be able to distribute cannabis flower products to retail dispensaries. More on the farming and sales in the state
Heather Trela, a marijuana policy expert at the Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany, said states typically rely initially on their existing medical growers. New Jersey, for instance, launched sales this year with cannabis grown indoors and sold by companies involved in the medical marijuana market.
But New York's move is a potential lifeline for farmers growing their crops for CBD during a slump in prices. They have a chance to make much more money growing what is essentially the same plant, but with higher levels of THC — the compound that makes people feel high. While cannabis grown under the sun has lower THC levels, some people appreciate its nuanced characteristics.
“There's a market that we're building for small players, for big players, for medium-sized players, for family businesses, for big corporations as well. We do think it will be sufficient to provide that initial supply to our dispensary locations that we get up and running,” stated Chris Alexander. Alexander is the executive director of New York State's Office of Cannabis Management.
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