Lawmakers scramble to fix NY's struggling rollout of retail cannabis

Some New York lawmakers are scrambling as they enter the final week of the legislative session to implement measures to aid the state’s struggling retail cannabis market, including a proposal to allow growers to sell last year’s crops at concert venues, fairs, farmers markets, and other events.

The Times Union reported last week that dozens of farmers who received conditional licenses to cultivate the first crops for New York’s retail marijuana market have been unable to sell thousands of pounds of product they grew last year because of the languishing rollout of the industry.

Assemblywoman Donna A. Lupardo, chair of the Assembly’s Committee on Agriculture, has also introduced a bill that would allow New York’s more than 200 licensed growers — many of whom operate small farms — to sell their crops to tribal nations across the state. That proposal is more difficult because laws may prevent the sale of New York-grown marijuana outside of the state. The tribal nations are separate political entities, and many are already have marijuana growing, processing, and retail businesses within their boundaries that are not regulated by New York.

Lupardo said that bill is being amended to allow a purchasing agent of a tribal nation to serve as a go-between on the sales, but she added the proposal is “a little more complicated than I expected.” The assemblywoman noted some tribal nations already are buying marijuana and related products that are being produced in other states and in Canada.


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