Hemp Pilot Program Extended In New York

New York's Statue of Liberty
  • The hemp pilot program in the state of New York has been extended.
  • Originally set to expire at the end of the month, hemp farmers can now operate under the 2018 Farm Bill rules and regulations until the end of September in 2021.
  • Both farmers and processors are still waiting on the legislature to create permanent rules and regulations for the state’s hemp industry.

Back in August of this year, New York Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball wrote a letter to the state’s hemp farmers, stating:

“It is the (state Ag & Markets) Department’s view that many of the (federal) requirements concerning the scope and timing of sampling and testing, the disposal of non-compliant plants, and reporting are unrealistic and impose unreasonable burdens on growers and any state interested in administering a compliant program.”

Ball also stated that he would ask the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to extend the existing pilot program into 2021.

Their wishes have been granted.

Instead of facing a potential shutdown at the end of October, hemp farmers in New York can now breathe a sigh of relief as their two-year-old hemp pilot program is being extended until the end of September next year.

The program was originally set to expire on October 31st, leaving nearly 700 hemp farmers in legal limbo without valid permits to continue operations. And although the program is now being extended, New York state’s cannabis industry still lacks a permanent set of rules and regulations. 

“In this industry, I get used to living permanently in a gray area,” stated Allan Gandelman, president of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association.

Gandelman joined a statewide campaign in September begging Andrew Cuomo to set permanent regulations for their industry. This has yet to happen, with the only sign of hope so far being this current extension of the 2018 Farm Bill.

The biggest roadblock that New York is facing is a lack of consensus between state regulators and the USDA. According to the 2018 Farm Law, states are required to submit a plan to the USDA for review to maintain authority over their hemp industry.

Moving Forward

Hemp farmers in New York can only hope that Cuomo and his administration will soon set out permanent and specific rules and guidelines for their industry. Until then, they can at least sleep comfortably knowing their jobs are legally safe for at least another year.

New York state’s cannabis industry is most known for supplying CBD products. However, the state’s existing Hemp Extracts law are some of the most strict in the country, and create even more gray areas for processors and extractors.

Despite these gray areas, hemp farmers are just happy to have some sort of testing and labeling requirements set in place. It helps them make New York’s cannabis products some of the best in the country and creates little doubt about their quality.



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