NY farmers with 300K pounds of weed fume over state’s slow shop roll-out
New York’s marijuana farmers are facing financial difficulties due to the slow rollout of legal cannabis dispensaries in the state. Last year, Governor Kathy Hochul predicted that dozens of dispensaries would open up each month by the start of 2023. However, only one shop was up and running at the start of the year, with 11 others joining later on. This delay has left approximately 200 New York farmers facing the daunting task of selling nearly 300,000 pounds of cannabis, which is equivalent to more than 272 million half-gram joints. Farmers say their product, most of which is converted into CDB oil, has been going nowhere fast, worrying them that it could soon become too old to sell.
The issue is further compounded by the New York City illegal pot market, with Mayor Eric Adams and local officials previously estimating that about 1,500 shops were illegally selling marijuana and its products. City officials have increased enforcement against these illicit operators, but it has still caused concern amongst legal marijuana growers who worry about their sales.
Despite all these challenges, many weed farmers remain hopeful that they can hold on until things open up. The state’s Office of Cannabis Management spokesman, Aaron Ghitelman, has mentioned that more adult-use dispensaries’ openings will support cultivators to sell their products. A $200 million fund for “social equity” among licensees was also created to spur business openings.
Q: When did New York legalize cannabis sales for recreational use?
A: In 2021.
Q: How many legal cannabis dispensaries have opened in New York since the legalization of cannabis sales?
A: Only one dispensary was up and running at the start of the year, with 11 others joining later on.
Q: How many pounds of cannabis did New York farmers grow last year?
A: Approximately 300,000 pounds.
Q: How does the slow rollout of legal cannabis dispensaries affect New York’s marijuana farmers?
A: Farmers are left with spoiling marijuana crops, which could soon become too old to peddle, causing them to lose money.
Q: What is the New York City illegal pot market estimate?
A: About 1,500 shops are estimated to be illegally selling marijuana and its products. City officials have stepped up enforcement of the illicit peddlers.
Q: How have New York State officials supported legal marijuana growers?
A: The state has created a $200 million fund for “social equity” among licensees to spur business openings and support cultivators to sell their products.
Farmers in New York Frustrated as State’s Delayed Shop Roll-Out Causes 300K Pounds of Marijuana to Go to Waste
New York’s weed farmers are facing major challenges due to the slow rollout of legal cannabis shops in the state. Approximately 200 New York farmers grew 300,000 pounds of cannabis, much of which is eventually converted into CBD oil, but the state’s failure to follow through on OK’ing dozens of dispensaries has left their product sitting idle. They worry that it could soon become too old to sell, despite the fact that this season’s new crop is already on the horizon.
The slow rollout of legal cannabis dispensaries has forced farmers like Seth Jacobs, who runs the Bud & Boro operation, to sit on hundreds of pounds of weed from last year’s harvest. Upstate marijuana farmer Jacobs is planting on less than the legally allowable acre he was allowed this year, despite harvesting 700 pounds of marijuana last year.
In 2014, New York state lawmakers approved the sale of medical marijuana, and in 2021 they gave the nod to cannabis sales for recreational use, but only under a strict store licensing process that critics say is unnecessarily cumbersome. Governor Kathy Hochul predicted that 20 new legal dispensaries would open every month by the start of 2023, but only one shop was up and running at the start of the year and just 11 others have since joined in.
“What we really need to see is more retailers get open, and that’s going to actually give us the sustainable solution,” said Brittany Carbone, co-founder of Tricolla Farms, whose stockpile includes 1,500 packs of pre-rolled cigarettes and about 2,000 packages of edible marijuana. Many farmers are scaling back on their 2023 harvest.
Despite the setbacks, many weed farmers are hopeful they can hold on until things open up. “This all will get worked out,” Jacobs predicted. “And I want to be there when it does.”