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By Kyle Jaeger
New York’s first marijuana farmers market will open on Thursday in the Hudson Valley, state regulators announced.
About one month after the Cannabis Control Board (CCB) started accepting applications for the new Cannabis Growers Showcases (CGS) program, regulators said in a press release on Wednesday that High Falls Canna has been cleared to launch this week and start serving adult consumers at an open market in New Paltz.
Licensed growers Queen Farms and Empire Farm 1830, as well as the retailer Legacy Dispensers, will also be on-site to sell their cannabis products. The farmers market will be open in the New Paltz municipal parking lot from 4-8pm Thursdays on Fridays and 1-8pm on Saturdays. This will continue to place each week until the end of the year or a traditional retailer opens in the village.
The first Cannabis Growers Showcase will be hosted in New Paltz on Thursday, August 10. New Yorkers can meet #NYcannabis growers and processors and experience all that this market has to offer every Thu-Fri from 4-8 and Sat from 1pm-8pm until year end. — NYS Office of Cannabis Management (@nys_cannabis) August 9, 2023
A press conference is scheduled for Thursday to mark the first-ever opening, featuring the mayor and deputy mayor of New Palz, New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) staff and marijuana business entrepreneurs.
The VONP Cannabis Growers Showcase w/ @HighFallsCanna et al will take place on Thursdays and Fridays 4pm – 8pm and Saturdays 1pm – 8pm through the end of the year (or when a brick and mortar cannabis business opens up in the Village, whichever comes first). — Alex(andria) Wojcik, Deputy Mayor (@AlexandriaPaltz) August 8, 2023
Under the current rules, the marijuana farmers markets will take place up until January 1, 2024 as the state works to get more traditional retailers open. Applications are still being accepted through December 1, 2023.
To receive approval for the CGS, applicants must demonstrate that they have at least three licensed adult-use cannabis cultivators and one conditional retail licensee. For every three additional cultivators, another provisional vendor must be included at the event.
At least initially, on-site consumption will be prohibited because permitting people to use marijuana at the markets would require additional permitting from the state Department of Public Health. Also, organizers will have to ensure that alcohol isn’t being sold at the events.
Farmers could seek municipal approval and hold the farmers markets on their own property. Or they could seek to join other events like concerts, fairs and festivals that are being separately organized.
OCM released templates of approval letters for municipalities and associated events along with the applications last month. It also provided inventory lists, attestation letters for CGS licensees and sample diagrams showing how events can be physically laid out.
Meanwhile, the board also approved an additional 212 provisional retailer licenses last month—the largest single batch of approvals to date. This brings the states total to 463 licensees that are gearing up to serve the adult market. It’s expected to take six months to a year for the shops to open.
But a New York judge recently ordered regulators to temporarily stop processing cannabis business license applications after a group of military veterans filed a lawsuit arguing that the state is violating the legalization law by prioritizing licenses for certain social equity applicants.
There are currently fewer than two dozen adult-use retailers operating in the state amid what many observers see as a troubled rollout that has seen delays in financing and opening storefronts that are supposed to be provided to equity retailers by the state.
Separately, New York City officials announced last month that they’re seeking lenders to support a marijuana equity fund that will promote participation in the industry by people who’ve been disproportionately impacted by criminalization.
Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) administration is also stepping up its push to transition people to the legal market, despite the bottlenecking of getting approved retailer licensees launched so far.
That included launching a public education campaign in April encouraging adults to buy their marijuana from licensed shops to ensure that products are safe and that revenue is used to advance equity and reinvestment goals.
The New York Senate has also formed a committee focused exclusively on marijuana that will be collaborating with regulators as the state’s cannabis market evolves.
Officials did announce in March that they are doubling the number of conditional adult-use marijuana licenses that can be approved, from 150 to 300, after receiving feedback from certain applicants that they would be able to more expeditiously open storefronts without additional support through a state program designed to help eligible entities create physical locations.
The governor also recently introduced legislation to increase enforcement authority to crack down on illicit marijuana retailers as the state struggles to stand up the regulated adult-use market.
In December, Hochul separately unveiled a marijuana business and product verification tool, with plans to post a QR code on licensed cannabis retailers and a universal symbol label for authorized cannabis products.
She also signed a bill in late November aimed at expanding the state’s hemp market by promoting collaborative partnerships to identify more opportunities to utilize the crop and its derivatives for packaging, construction and other purposes.
The New York Senate also approved a bill in June that would provide tax relief to New York City marijuana businesses that are currently blocked from making federal deductions under an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code known as 280E.
While Hochul signed a budget bill last year that included provisions allow state-level cannabis business tax deductions—a partial remedy to the ongoing federal issue—New York City has its own tax laws that weren’t affected by that change.