New York Governor Signs Hemp Bill With Focus On Local Impact

Hemp legislation signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo lays the groundwork for a state-focused hemp program.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed into law this week legislation to establish regulations on hemp production in the state of New York.

“By establishing a regulatory framework for producing and selling hemp and hemp extract we can set the industry on a path to continued growth in a smart, safe way that empowers both farmers and consumers,” Cuomo stated in a press release.

The new legislation, Assembly Bill A7680A, is part of a chapter agreement intended to provide a more streamlined regulatory pathway for hemp products, according to the press release. The measure lays the groundwork for several state agencies and creates a registration for hemp state permits.

The new hemp law establishes labeling standards and mandates that New York-based hemp companies use only New York-grown crops, according to a New York Post report. State lawmakers granted the state’s Department of Agriculture and Markets supervision over hemp growers. Hemp extracts will be under the supervision of the state’s Department of Health.

New regulations were also established for laboratory testing and labeling of hemp extract products. Those who must apply for state permits include hemp growers, processors, and sellers of hemp and hemp extract.

According to Cuomo’s news release, New York’s hemp program, including the state’s cannabidiol (CBD) market, has recently experienced significant growth. The growth reflects a nationwide trend. Hemp Industry Daily projects retail hemp CBD sales to surge, from $1.2 billion in 2019 to $10.3 billion by 2024.

Cuomo and state lawmakers have been pushing for hemp industry growth in New York. The state’s hemp pilot program quickly expanded across the state in 2018. The year before Cuomo, signed off on a $10 million grant to boost the state’s hemp program.

“The hemp industry in New York is exploding and with that growth comes a responsibility to regulate the industry in a way that helps ensure its long-term viability and protects consumers,” Cuomo stated.

Cuomo’s Dec. 9 press release also announced that New York will play host to a hemp summit in January “to further develop policies and priorities related to this burgeoning industry.”

U.S. Hemp Regulation and Growth

New York’s newly-formed commercial hemp program is made possible by the 2018 Farm Bill, signed into law last December.

The bill contained provisions that removed hemp, a variety of cannabis containing less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), from the list of federally controlled substances, ending its prohibition in the United States. Under the new rules, hemp is defined as an agricultural commodity, placing its regulation under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA released the interim final rule on hemp in October. The proposed regulation gives states the freedom to create individual hemp rules. Many states have taken advantage of establishing regulation for the cash crop.

U.S. hemp production more than quadrupled in the first year of commercial cultivation, expanding to more than 128,000 acres. The research company MartketsandMarkets estimates the U.S. hemp market could reach $26.6 billion by 2025.

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