New York Is Planning to Launch Cannabis Farmers Markets Within the Next Month
New Yorkers could soon be able to add fresh bud to their grocery lists, but they won't be able to light up in these new farmers markets.
Published on May 30, 2023

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New York cannabis regulators are working to launch cannabis farmers markets all across the Empire State as soon as next month. 

The state Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) announced this surprising new plan at a recent town hall event organized by the Cannabis Association of New York (CANY). This unique plan, which is being branded as the New York Cannabis Growers Showcase, would allow three or more licensed growers to partner with at least one legal retailer to open a market where adults can buy their wares legally. Organizers could potentially start up regular weekly or daily markets, or even open one-off stalls at concerts, fairs, or festivals.

“Growers can sell flower and pre-rolls, so consumer tested and packaged product, and do so through a retailer, but at non-storefront locations,” said OCM director of policy John Kagia, according to Green Market Report. “We’re thinking very expansively about the type of places this can be done. And as long as… we can get municipal approval to host these events, we’re going to be pretty liberal.”

“If you have a farm or a location where you want to set up an event, we’ll support that,” Kagia added. “But also if you want to piggyback on an event that already exists, a concert, a festival, some other sort of agricultural event, and there’s a way to get our cannabis folks in there, we would love for that to happen. We’re trying to give the community as much flexibility to do as many of these events as possible, if there’s the opportunity to set up one of these every day of the week, or one of these every weekend, we’ll back that.”

Of course, there will be a few rules and restrictions that must be followed. Market organizers will need to get a permit from their local town or city government, and all municipalities still have the right to ban legal weed sales in their jurisdictions. Alcohol sales will be prohibited, and people won't be allowed to actually smoke weed on market grounds, either. That latter restriction isn't such a big deal, though, since New York allows public cannabis consumption anywhere that tobacco smoking is allowed. 

Regulators are hoping that these proposed farmers' markets will help speed along the state's glacial adult-use retail rollout. The OCM finally awarded its first adult-use cultivation licenses last year, and legal farms harvested over $750 million worth of legal bud by last fall. But thanks to endless regulatory delays and legal battles, there are still only 13 legal weed shops operating in the entire state. This has made it nearly impossible for growers to sell their wares legally, and many are worried that their fresh bud will rot away in warehouses.

The new farmers market plan would allow farmers to sidestep the usual retail process and sell their weed directly, rather than waiting for additional stores to open. And although the OCM still needs to wrap up the final regulations, they are hoping to sign off on them sooner rather than later. At the recent town hall, regulators said that they were hoping to get these markets operational as soon as next month.

“We think this is really important because it does two things,” Kagia said, Marijuana Moment reports. “One, it allows the growers to get in front of the consumers who are going to be buying legal regulated product in New York, and allows you to tell your stories... Two, it allows you to sell product much more quickly across the state, so the idea would be that the retailers are going to be confined to the regions where they’re authorized to operate, but the growers would be able to do this anywhere in the state.”

Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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