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New York Bill To Relaunch Marijuana Farmers Markets Heads To Governor’s Desk



New York lawmakers have sent a bill to the governor that would make marijuana farmers markets a permanent feature of the state’s cannabis market.

The legislation from Sen. Michelle Hinchey (D) and Assemblymember Donna Lupardo (D) would revive the cannabis growers showcase events that had been temporarily authorized but ended last year. It would authorize regulators to continue issuing permits for the farmers markets indefinitely.

In order to obtain a permit, a licensed marijuana retailer would need to partner with a grower or processor and also receive a secondary permit for each event they hold, which could last up to two weeks at a time.

“No cannabis showcase event permit shall authorize more than one cannabis showcase event at one time,” the bill says. “A licensee may participate in more than one cannabis showcase event so long as each cannabis showcase event has a corresponding separate cannabis showcase event permit.”

The measure, which was approved by the Senate and Assembly last week and is now heading to the desk of Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), further stipulates that the Cannabis Control Board (CCB) may “set reasonable fees for cannabis showcase event permits.” Those fees can be based on “the type of cannabis showcase event permit sought, size, length, duration, or any other factors deemed reasonable and appropriate by the board.”

Part of the purpose of the temporary growers showcase events that were approved last year was to help farmers reach customers directly while meeting pent-up demand for cannabis products amid the state’s protracted rollout of the legal retail market.

“By all accounts, the program was a success, bringing cultivators, processors, and retail licensees together in a way where they could directly interact with and educate consumers, build brand recognition, and orient consumers to the legal market’s offerings,” a memo attached to the new bill says.

“This legislation may provide additional tax revenue for the State and local governments as it will provide additional sales opportunities for cannabis growers to sell their products,” it says.

Regulators have faced pressure from stakeholders and the Hochul administration to expedite licensing, and the governor recently pushed out the executive director of the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) as part of an “overhaul” of the agency.

The governor also foreshadowed at a February meeting that she was eyeing potential leadership changes within the state’s marijuana regulatory apparatus because of the implementation issues.

Following the ouster of OCM Executive Director Chris Alexander, advocates at the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition said they were “shocked and dismayed” by the action.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,500 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

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As the state has worked to stand up the legal market, it’s also dealt with a proliferation of unlicensed cannabis shops. To that end, lawmakers have also introduced a bill that would allow people in the state to bring legal actions against entities that violate state marijuana laws, potentially empowering ordinary individuals to sue unlicensed cannabis sellers or licensees skirting state law.

A news report earlier this year found that despite state officials levying more than $25 million in fines against unlicensed retailers for selling cannabis products since last year, only a tiny fraction of those fines had been collected by either the New York Tax Department or OCM.

In an attempt to rein in unlicensed sales, Hochul in February called on big tech companies such as Google and Meta to “do the right thing” by taking steps to stop promoting illicit marijuana shops, which have proliferated across the state.

Meanwhile, a top New York lawmaker introduced a bill this month to legalize psilocybin for adults, provided they obtain a permit after undergoing a health screening and educational course.

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Photo courtesy of California State Fair.

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based managing editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.


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