A bill has passed New York’s State Legislature allowing the transportation, processing, sale and distribution of hemp that is grown as part of the State’s research pilot program.
The research pilot program, which we mentioned back in January, only enabled industrial hemp to be grown at that point – so this new legislation was crucial.
Champions of the bill, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Tom O’Mara, were ecstatic that the new bill passed both the Assembly and Senate unanimously. Both Ms. Lupardo and Mr. Lupardo were also the driving force behind New York State’s research pilot program.
“The significance of this bill cannot be overstated. This marks the beginning of a new industrial crop with enormous economic potential,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo “Industrial hemp will benefit not only local agriculture, but has the potential for numerous manufacturing opportunities in the Southern Tier and throughout the state.”
Senator O’Mara said it was great economic news.
“The New York Farm Bureau, Cornell University researchers and other agricultural leaders and farm advocates recognize industrial hemp as a potentially lucrative way to provide new economic opportunities and a competitive edge for our farmers.”
It’s an important step, but still a small one – and the road towards a broader program in the state could stretch out a long way. Currently, licenses to grow industrial hemp in New York State are only available to colleges and universities – and only ten were available. However, licensees are able contract with farmers off campus to grow the hemp. Each permit is good for three years.
Dan Dolgin, co-owner of J & D Farms – which is growing under a license awarded to Morrisville State College – has quipped industrial hemp products are something you can buy at a local grocery store, but farmers couldn’t grow it in their fields.
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets has been generally upbeat and supportive of the program.
“The Department has worked to provide a measured approach to this agricultural area by encouraging the State’s premier higher education institutions to conduct meaningful research on the potential of this crop,” said Commissioner Richard A. Ball in February.