New York’s Conditional Cannabis Cultivation Bill Breakdown
On February 22, 2022, New York’s Governor, Kathy Hochul, signed into law a new adult-use cannabis cultivator license program that would allow existing New York State Hemp farmers to apply for a temporary license to grow cannabis in the 2022 growing season for the use in the budding New York State cannabis market.
The legislation (S8084A/A9283) allows the Office of Cannabis Management to begin issuing temporary cannabis cultivator and processor licenses to licensed hemp farmers that have grown and harvested hemp for at least two of the past four years. The idea behind this bill is to speed up the establishment of the New York’s legal cannabis industry. This legislation attempts to circumvent some of the early issues that other recreational states have encountered such as early supply issues. Take for example, some of the early supply issues that Oregon and Washington State encountered. By allowing existing, licensed hemp farmers to transfer over their farms and knowledge to the cultivation of cannabis, New York State is laying the foundation for what the early cannabis cultivation will look like.
The Actual License
These licenses allow these new licensees to grow, cultivate and distribute cannabis for a narrow time. Specifically, the legislation states, “No such license shall be issued after December 31st, 2022, and such license shall only be valid through June 30th, 2024.”
Indoor cultivators will be limited to 25,000 square feet of greenhouse canopy with up to 20 artificial lights. As part of the legislation, farmers may also split between outdoor and indoor cultivation so long as the maximum total canopy is less than 30,000 square feet while keeping flowering greenhouse canopies 20,000 square feet or less. Outdoor cultivators are eligible to utilize 43,560 square feet or one acre.
Interestingly, the bill gives these new licensees, “temporary authority to minimally process and distribute cannabis products, provided that such final products shall be in the form of cannabis flower”. The provisional licenses are extremely limited, but these new licenses are a good peek into how New York is opening up the New York cannabis market.
 A. 9283, §2, Clause 6