US (NY): Switching from hemp to cannabis: "We couldn't compete"

It’s around 4 o’clock on a sunny May afternoon, the weather reminiscent of a hot summer’s day. The grass outside is growing so fast you can almost hear it. But the grass inside is just beginning to sprout, rather quietly, if not for the humming of industrial-sized fans meant to prevent stagnant air.

Sibby Hanson, a 27-year-old botanist, and farmer, is grinning after inspecting 1,250 germinating cannabis seeds in a garage on Claverack Creek Farm, just a five-minute drive from Hudson. Hanson’s excited because the seeds, his plant children, are beginning to develop a green stem, about the size of a fingernail. Soon, Hanson will start to plant the sprouts outside, and after five months of sun and water, the tiny stems can grow some 12 feet into a mature cannabis plant. 

Claverack Creek Farm is one of the 52 New York hemp farms that were approved in April to legally cultivate cannabis. Hemp growers, bogged down by a saturated CBD market where the price for a pound of hemp biomass dropped from $40 to $10, have an opportunity to spearhead New York’s first adult-use cannabis grow this summer, supplying the adult-use market, which is slated to launch later this year.

“We couldn’t compete in the commodity market of CBD,” says Melany Dobson, co-founder, and CEO of Hudson Hemp, a women-owned regenerative plant medicine business operating in Hudson. She has no plans at the moment to continue growing hemp and is looking toward the future. “The transition from the hemp market to the THC market is a very natural progression, it is very progressive and is on the forefront of crafting a sustainable cannabis market.”

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