New York is racing to have adult-use cannabis on the shelves this year, with equity and environmental responsibility. What does this mean for your licensed business in MA?

The NY Governor just signed the conditional cannabis cultivation bill which will allow existing hemp farmers to grow adult-use cannabis, emphasizing outdoor grows and requiring growers to participate in a social equity mentorship program and engagement in a labor peace agreement.

How will this impact the regional market? It’s still pretty early to read the tea leave (the regulators have to actually implement this law in time for plants to go in the ground this season – which will be a tight timeline), but this could change the way the north east thinks about commercial cannabis cultivation. Massachusetts has only been giving lip service to the virtues of outdoor grows while neglecting to implement actual regulatory structures that encourage sun-grown cannabis. New York is about to bring online a significant number of acres of outdoor cannabis, providing stark contrast to MA’s choice to be dominated by indoor cultivation. The NY Department of Agriculture lists 66 current hemp licenses. Since the new conditional cannabis license law allows a cultivator up to an acre of outdoor (less if in greenhouses), this might put up to 66 acres of outdoor cannabis into production in 2022. This would be 2,874,960 square feet of canopy, which would significantly exceed MA’s total current operational canopy of 2,215,000 square feet (and this is indoor + outdoor).

Things might be about to change…