New York Hemp Industry Adjusts to Include Marijuana

Empire State Building
  • New York’s new law to legalize marijuana also includes an overhaul on regulations for the hemp industry in the state.
  • For the first time in the U.S., New York will attempt to regulate marijuana and hemp producers in the same manner, with both being governed by the new Office of Cannabis Management.
  • As of now, cannabis producers will have a few options: Enter the marijuana industry, enter the high-THC CBD industry, or remain in the regular, hemp-derived CBD industry.

Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing marijuana for recreational use throughout the state. Not only did this mean big changes for the cannabis industry as a whole, but the bill also included an overhaul of the regulations that New York currently has set for the hemp industry.

New York will officially be the first state in the country to attempt to regulate hemp producers making flower and cannabinoid products in the same way they will regulate marijuana operators. This new structure is being placed into a new category called “cannabinoid hemp,” and will be governed by a brand new Office of Cannabis Management, which will create rules for cannabinoid hemp and marijuana.

As a result, this new law could either boost or severely cripple the CBD industry in New York. Due to the similarity in rules and regulations, many hemp farmers may decide to transition into the marijuana industry, as it has historically dominated cannabis sales.

On the other hand, this marijuana legalization opens the door for high-THC CBD products; a market that could be fruitful for those who claim property in it first.

“I think most of them are looking to enter the high-THC space,” said Kaelan Casretter, who serves as vice president of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association. 

“It’s all cannabis, right? There’s so much similarity between growing hemp for its cannabinoid content that is not THC and growing for THC content. So, why not?”

Despite Casretter’s optimism that many CBD producers will stay in the industry, many fear that the lack of regulation around the marketing of said products, along with all other hemp-derived extracts, will cause a massive departure from producers. 

“I’m cautiously optimistic that there’s a path forward to selling CBD in all forms,” said Small Wallin, CEO of Vertical Wellness, Inc.

A few months back, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that CBD research was a priority for the agency, and that they were “committed to advancing hemp products with available regulatory pathways.”

Where those pathways we exist, nobody is sure yet. All that producers in the cannabis industry can do is what they’ve been doing — sit and wait.



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