New York Legislation To Treat Industrial Hemp As An Agricultural Crop

Industrial hemp in New York
Image background: Evelyn Simak, CC BY-SA 2.0

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced a bill on the weekend that would treat industrial hemp more like other agricultural crops grown and processed in the state.

The Act would amend agriculture and markets law in New York concerning inspection and sale of industrial hemp seeds, help support the industry and include industrial hemp as a crop.

“Industrial hemp has proven its potential, especially in the Southern Tier, and this legislation removes artificial barriers for growth,” PressConnects reports the governor as saying.

The industry certainly seems to have a friend in Mr. Cuomo. Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo committed to authorizing more locations to research, cultivate and process industrial hemp, stating:

“We will position New York at the forefront of a growing agricultural sector that is ripe with economic opportunity, and capitalize on our agricultural assets to provide farmers with top-notch resources enabling them to grow the hemp industry for decades to come.”

Caps were subsequently lifted on the number of research licenses, and private farms and businesses were able carry out research of their own accord under the state’s Industrial Hemp Agricultural Research Pilot Program.

With just three working days left in the 2017 legislative session, it’s hoped lawmakers will vote on the bill before this session ends. If the vote is in favour of the amendments, the Act will become effective immediately.

“It is the declared policy of the state to become a leader in encouraging and supporting research into the growth, cultivation, uses, processing and development of industrial hemp and products derived from industrial hemp to benefit its people and to support New York farms and businesses to the full extent permitted by law,” states the wording of the Act, the full text of which can be viewed here.

In 2015, New York became the 19th state to allow industrial hemp trials, with Cornell University and SUNY Morrisville the first to be issued research permits. Cornell’s program is testing seventeen industrial hemp varieties this year. 6 are strains developed for grain/seed, 4 for fiber, and 7 are dual purpose.

In April, Cornell University hosted the state’s first-ever Industrial Hemp Summit, which the governor attended.