US (NY): Will cannabis packaging be made from hemp?

As New York prepares to launch retail cannabis sales, a state senator wants to ensure that cannabis products are sustainably packaged, and she’s introduced legislation to accomplish that by prioritizing hemp-based packaging. Sen. Michelle Hinchey (D) filed the bill earlier this month, making the case that hemp represents an environmentally friendlier alternative to synthetic plastics. She said setting a standard where the crop is utilized for adult-use cannabis packaging would also support businesses in the burgeoning hemp market.

Under the proposal, the state’s Cannabis Control Board would be required to “develop strategic plans detailing the primary use of industrial hemp for packaging and labeling requirements to be used prior to the retail sale of any cannabis or cannabis product to a cannabis consumer.”

Further, the legislation calls for the establishment of a “Sustainable Cannabis Packaging Incubator Program” to provide financial incentives for businesses to create “compostable and biodegradable cannabis packaging materials.” Participants in the program would need to make packaging that contains at least 30% hemp.

“There is no other natural resource that offers the same environmental, agricultural, and economic potential as hemp,” Hinchey said. “My bill will create a market, kickstarting the industry and moving New York State to the forefront in a way that will help us tackle the climate crisis, give our small farmers a competitive edge, and boost upstate economic development.”

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