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Push to support cannabis farmers with surplus product

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Posted: Sep 14, 2023 / 05:21 PM EDT Updated: Sep 14, 2023 / 05:21 PM EDT


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)—Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling on Governor Kathy Hochul to sign a bill relating to marijuana sales.

“I still have 500 pounds of last year’s crop, and I still have plans to harvest this year,” said Jeanette Miller, Co-founder and Chair of Cannabis Farmers Alliance.

New York State only has 23 licensed dispensaries, a big problem for cannabis growers who have more product then they can sell.

“There’s literally hundreds of thousands of pounds of legal cannabis,” said Miller. “The only legal cannabis in New York State just sitting around waiting for something to happen.’

“There are 300 licensed farmers growing marijuana and only 23 dispensaries for them to sell to,” explained Senator George Borello, Ranking member of the Agricultural Committee. “So that has created a crisis. I’ve spoken to these farmers. They were at the most recent Office of Cannabis Management Meeting and expressed their frustrations. Many of them have invested their entire life savings and some of them are on the verge of bankruptcy.”

Borello is among the lawmakers calling on the governor to sign a bipartisan bill that passed in both the state Senate and Assembly. It would allow farmers to sell tested, packaged, and sealed cannabis to a tribal nation dispensing facility for retail.

“There are literally hundreds of these dispensaries on native lands across New York State. These are legally operating because they are sovereign nations,” said Borello. He said while this won’t be a life saver for farmers, it will however be a lifeline. “These farmers are hanging on by a thread.”

If the governor signs this bill, it would go into effect immediately. According to her office, she will review the legislation.

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