This story originally appeared on Benzinga
New York governor Kathy Hochul (D) signed a bill that would give provisional cannabis growing and processing licenses to hemp businesses that are currently engaged in promoting equity in the industry, reported Marijuana Moment.
The news comes about a week after the Senate approved the bill in a 50-13 vote to speed up the process of New York’s adult-use market and support equity goals in cannabis business participation. The bill was sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Sen. Michelle Hinchey (D).
“I’m proud to sponsor legislation to help them obtain conditional licenses, which will allow New York to implement its cannabis program faster,” Sen. Hinchey said at the time. “Our existing hemp growers, who have been some of the hardest hit by market fluctuations, already have the knowledge base to meet this need, and I’m proud to sponsor legislation to help them obtain conditional licenses, which will allow New York to implement its cannabis program faster.”
Hochul proud to sign bill
Gov. Hochul (D) said in a press release that she is “proud to sign this bill, which positions New York’s farmers to be the first to grow cannabis and jumpstart the safe, equitable and inclusive new industry we are building. New York State will continue to lead the way in delivering on our commitment to bring economic opportunity and growth to every New Yorker in every corner of our great state.”
The new measure, which places heightened importance on equity, requires conditional license holders to “participate in an environmental sustainability program and a social equity mentorship program. Such mentorship program shall be directed to train individuals interested in becoming licensed cultivators and shall leverage remote and in-person mentees with experience in agriculture business management, sustainable cannabis cultivation, and best practices.”
In addition, the marijuana bill demands conditional licensees to “enter into a labor peace agreement with a bonafide labor organization that is actively engaged in representing or attempting to represent the applicant’s employees within six months of licensure.”
Placing farmers first
The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) will be allowed to issue the conditional licenses up until June 1, 2023, after which candidates should apply for a standard adult-use license.
Conditional cultivator licensees will be allowed to “minimally process and distribute cannabis products, provided that such final products shall be in the form of cannabis flower,” according to the bill.
“This law places New York’s farmers first in line to grow cannabis, the timing of which is critical to our efforts to roll out the adult use program,” Cannabis Control Board chair Tremaine Wright said. “With this bill, we’re continuing to put equity and inclusion at the forefront of the new cannabis industry we’re building.”