Key members of the New York Assembly and Senate recently filed bills that would provide provisional marijuana cultivator and processor licenses for existing hemp businesses that take certain steps to promote equity in the emerging industry. The bicameral legislation is being led by Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes (D) and Sen. Michelle Hinchey (D). Peoples-Stokes sponsored the adult-use legalization law that took effect last year along with Sen. Liz Krueger (D), who is listed as a co-sponsor of the new licensing bill.\ The measure is meant to simultaneously expedite the process of standing up New York’s adult-use market while supporting efforts to reach ambitious equity goals with respect to cannabis business participation.\ As it stands, adults 21 and older can possess and publicly consume cannabis, as well as gift marijuana to other adults as long as they aren’t being compensated. But regulators are still finalizing licensing rules, and there are currently no retailers that are authorized to sell cannabis for adult use in the state. The justification section for the bill says that it is “necessary to allow for a timely establishment of the adult-use cannabis market by allowing for the temporary conditional cultivation and processing of adult-use cannabis as soon as is feasible.” Unlike a separate temporary licensing bill that was filed in the Senate last year, this one puts a strong emphasis on equity objectives. Not only would prospective conditional license holders need to have been authorized by the state Department of Agriculture to grow hemp as of December 31, 2021—and have grown the crop for two of the past four years—they would also be required to “participate in an environmental sustainability program and a social equity mentorship program.”

Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 02/14/2022 15:18:00

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