New York Lawmakers Hope Tribal Nations Can Help Struggling Cannabis Growers

Source JD Supra

New York Lawmakers Hope Tribal Nations Can Help Struggling Cannabis Growers

One more market could soon be available to New York’s cannabis growers struggling to sell last year’s crops because of the state’s slow rollout of its legalized marijuana program.

The state legislature approved a bill June 10 allowing cannabis cultivators to sell their stockpiled product to tribal nations and are hopeful Gov. Kathy Hochul will sign the bill soon.

The New York Farm Bureau supported the bill, as did the Seneca Nation in upstate and the Shinnecock Indian Nation on Long Island.

The bill represents the latest legislative effort to help approximately 200 cannabis cultivators who find themselves struggling to sell their crop in the wake of severe delays implementing the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act, passed by voters in March of 2021. Lawsuits and a slow regulatory rollout delayed full implementation, and only about a dozen adult-use conditional retailers are open for business. Many cultivators and processors claim they are facing financial turmoil because they can’t sell last season’s harvest.

Allowing tribal nations to purchase laboratory tested product for their own regulated recreational cannabis market is a short-term, one-time solution to the problem. New York is also considering allowing sales at farmer’s markets in an effort to get rid of the tens of thousands of pounds cultivators have stockpiled from last year’s harvest.

Meanwhile, the state is attempting to accelerate its processing of retail license applications. After a favorable court ruling in late March lifted an injunction barring conditional adult-use retail cannabis licenses in several regions of the state, New York officials announced plans to double the number of planned dispensaries from 150 to 300. But it will take weeks, if not months, to get those through the approval process and open for business.

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