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can you buy marijuana seeds in new york

The Fashionification of Weed has Begun

The fashion and beauty industries are wasting no time getting in the game now that marijuana is legal in New York.

On March 31, New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational cannabis. New Yorkers ages 21 and over can possess up to three ounces of concentrated cannabis. They can smoke it anywhere they can legally smoke tobacco, store up to five pounds of product, and grow up to six of their own plants. It will be some time before we see dispensaries and other legal retailers hit Manhattan or Ithaca—but the fashion and beauty industries aren’t sleeping on getting in on the Mary Jane game.

The New York market value is estimated at $4.6 billion, with market growth and demand projected to hit $5.8 billion in 2027. It will be the second-biggest market after California. Given the economics, it’s not a shock that there is interest from all sectors—including fashion and luxury. Some are longtime stoners looking for a second venture with solid growth; some are fashion people who never really smoked at all but saw the economic potential, a more secure future than luxury fashion in an era of market supersaturation; others couldn’t care less about making a profit beyond a sustainable level. These are the creatives looking to expand and reimagine narratives around cannabis culture.

There’s been some nascent fashion-weed crossover already. In April 2019, Barneys Los Angeles hosted High Life, a luxury weed pop-up offering $1,575 grinders and concierge delivery. Last year, Los Angeles–based serial fashion entrepreneur Armen Gregorian, the executive behind A.L.C., launched Mae, a beautifully crafted cannabis accessories and product line branded for a more discrete and feminine smoking experience. Then, there are the editors and influencers getting into CBD (or cannabidiol), like L.A.-based Courtney Trop, a.k.a. @alwaysjudging, whose CBD line, Stevie, features minimally designed body salves, bath salts, and pre-rolls.

Central to legalization is reckoning with the systemic violence of criminalization toward Black and Latinx communities, which represent more than 90 percent of convictions despite consumption being equal regardless of race. With legalization, criminal records for marijuana-related convictions will be expunged, and 40 percent of tax revenue will go back into Black and Latinx communities. You can’t talk about the future of cannabis without owning the history and present. This is a conversation that extends to the private sector. Overlapping with inequities in criminal justice is the lack of Black and Brown ownership in the growing legal business; the conversation needs to extend beyond consideration of harms into who now benefits. Who has ownership over legal cannabis spaces? What are the hiring practices within new cannabis businesses, and whose voice is being centered? Are practices and internal structures enough? Can they ever be? What is the impact of massive, multistate operators on independent Black, Brown, and minority-owned businesses?

Below, we speak with some of the new voices in cannabis—New York creatives leaning in to weed, some hoping to be the DuPont or Veuve Clicquot of cannabis, others with different ambitions—to get their stories, from brand concept and product to how they reckon with the deep inequity of this space.

Farnsworth Fine Cannabis

Who: Art Director Alexander Farnsworth and his partner, designer Adam Lippes, known for his minimal, feminine apparel beloved by the likes of Oprah Winfrey. Farnsworth has been developing the cannabis line and shop, which launched in late March, for eight years; Lippes is still designing his ready-to-wear label full time—he’s preparing to shoot his resort collection when we speak—but got involved in Farnsworth Fine Cannabis at the start-up phase.

“I’m an entrepreneur at heart,” Lippes, who is involved in a range of new businesses, says. “Day to day, I’m in the studio designing my collection. That is where my passion lies. But every once in a while, I’ll pop in [and work in the shop] or hop on a phone call.”

What: A luxury dispensary in the Berkshires inspired by early Italian apothecaries, stocking vintage accessories, like a lighter that belonged to Jack Kerouac; a line of apparel designed with Laure Heriard Dubreuil of the Webster; alongside an in-house line of cannabis cigarettes available in three strengths with long filters designed for a smooth hit. “It’s a total New York, New York, product,” Farnsworth says. “I hope to see it in every bodega in the future.”

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Can you buy marijuana seeds in new york

Or asked another way, What Types of Cannabis Businesses Can I Have in New York?

Under Governor Cuomo’s proposed New York’s “Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act” (as released in January 2019, the Cannabis Law), there are plenty of new business opportunities in the New York cannabusiness space, most of which will need to be licensed by the State Office of Cannabis Management (the “CannaCzar”) within the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

The proposed Cannabis Law (the bill was replaced with the MRTA, which rules have yet to be written) imposed many restrictions on each cannabis-related license as well as regarding cross-ownership as between the various cannabis-related licensees (for example, with the exception of the prior 10 medical marijuana licensees, vertically integrated cannabusinesses are for the most part prohibited).

It is best to discuss your proposed business with a NY Canna Business Lawyer .

Here is a list of identified licenses (but the CannaCzar may license other activities as well (or the enacted law may differ):

Adult-use cultivator license — for the acquisition, possession, cultivation and sale of cannabis from the licensed premises of the adult-use cultivator by such licensee to “duly licensed processors.” A cultivator can apply for one processor and one distributor license.

Adult-use processor license — the acquisition, possession, processing and sale of cannabis from the licensed premises of the adult-use cultivator by such licensee to “duly licensed distributors.” Processors must purchase cannabis from cultivators and can sell cannabis to distributors only. A processor licensee can have up to three processor licenses.

Adult-use cooperative license — the acquisition, possession, cultivation, processing and sale from the licensed premises of the adult-use cooperative by such licensee to duly licensed distributors and/or retail dispensaries; but not directly to cannabis consumers.

Adult-use distributor license — the acquisition, possession, distribution and sale of cannabis from the licensed premises of a licensed adult-use processor, microbusiness cultivator, or registered organization authorized to sell adult-use cannabis, to duly licensed retail dispensaries. A distributor licensee may not have any economic interest in any retail dispensary license (no vertical integration (except for grand-fathered Registered Organizations)).

Adult-use retail dispensary license — the acquisition, possession and sale of cannabis from the licensed premises of the retail dispensary by such licensee to cannabis consumers. No person may have a financial or controlling interest in more than three retail dispensary licenses. This restriction, however, does not prohibit Registered Organizations (the pre-existing licensed medical marijuana licensees) from obtaining adult-use retail dispensary licenses at locations previously registered and in operation as of April 1, 2019. Under the current medical marijuana regulations, Registered Organizations can have up to 4 medical dispensary locations. A retail dispensary would not be permitted to sell more than one ounce of cannabis per consumer per day, nor more than 5 grams of cannabis concentrate per consumer per day.

On-site consumption license — Adult-use retail dispensaries (provided the location would qualify for alcohol sales) can apply to have an on-site license (which cannot sell more than 1 gram of cannabis to a consumer for on-site consumption).

Note, MBE, WBE, Disadvantaged Farmers and Incubators all are given special consideration. The law is drafted to favor small business and give special consideration to license applications by minority-owned, women-owned businesses and disadvantaged farmers; or made under the newly announced incubator program.

The law also anticipates issuing special permits for other cannabis-related activities. The rules and regulations for these permits have yet to be released.

  1. Industrial cannabis permit to purchase cannabis for use in the manufacture and sale of any of the following, when such cannabis is not suitable for consumption purposes, namely: (a) apparel, energy, paper, and tools; (b) scientific, chemical, mechanical and industrial products; or (c) any other industrial use as determined by the CannaCzar.
  2. Nursery permit to produce clones, immature plants, seeds, and other agricultural products used specifically for the planting, propagation, and cultivation of cannabis, and to sell such to licensed adult-use cultivators, registered organizations, and certified patients or their designated caregivers.
  3. Solicitor’s permit to offer for sale or to solicit orders for the sale of any cannabis products, medical cannabis and/or hemp cannabis, as a representative of a registered organization or licensee governed by the CannaCzar.
  4. Broker’s permit to act as a broker in the purchase and sale of cannabis products, medical cannabis and/or hemp cannabis for a fee or commission, for or on behalf of a person authorized to cultivate, process, distribute or dispense cannabis products, medical cannabis or hemp cannabis within New York.
  5. Trucking permit to allow for the trucking or transportation of cannabis products, medical cannabis or hemp cannabis by a person other than a registered organization or licensee governed by the CannaCzar.
  6. Warehouse permit to allow for the storage of cannabis, cannabis products, medical cannabis or hemp cannabis at a location not otherwise registered or licensed by the office.
  7. Delivery permit to authorize licensed adult-use cannabis dispensaries to deliver adult-use cannabis and cannabis products directly to cannabis consumers.
  8. Cannabinoid permit to sell cannabinoid products derived from hemp cannabis for off-premises consumption.
  9. Temporary retail cannabis permit to authorize the retail sale of adult-use cannabis to cannabis consumers, for a limited purpose or duration.
  10. Packaging permit to authorize a licensed cannabis distributor to sort, package, label and bundle cannabis products from one or more registered organizations or licensed processors, on the premises of the licensed cannabis distributor or at a warehouse for which a permit has been issued by the CannaCzar.
  11. Miscellaneous permits to purchase, receive or sell cannabis, cannabis products or medical cannabis, or receipts, certificates, contracts or other documents pertaining to cannabis, cannabis products, or medical cannabis, in cases not expressly provided for by the law, when in the judgment of the CannaCzar it would be appropriate and consistent with the policy and purpose of the law.
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The rules and regulations promulgated by the CannaCzar will govern license requirements and other licensing matters. The Cannabis Law has yet to be voted upon by the NY legislature and promulgated into rules. Coincidentally, the proposed law’s enactment is slated to take effect on the first of April 2020 (yes folks, “4/20” — government can have a sense of humor)!

It is best to discuss your proposed business with a NY Canna Business Lawyer. Please feel free to contact us if we can be of any assistance or answer any questions.

**This post is for informational purposes only, For legal advice, contact a Canna Business Lawyer **

Swap the Crop? NY Hemp Farmers Eager to Grow Marijuana

Many hemp farmers are motivated to move into the marijuana market not only because of their familiarity with the flower, but a crash in commodity prices driven by oversupply

Published April 14, 2021 • Updated on April 15, 2021 at 12:58 am

Legal marijuana is coming to New York and hemp farmer Samir Mahadin sees it as a potential lifeline.

Farmers dealing with depressed prices for plants that produce CBD are eager to take part in a statewide marijuana market expected to generate billions of dollars a year once retail sales start.

They already know how to grow and process cannabis plants, since hemp is essentially the same plant with lower levels of THC, marijuana’s active ingredient.

Now they’re waiting on rules that will allow them to switch seeds.

“I would love to get a license to grow cannabis. My wife and I love working with this plant, I believe in its ability and power as a medicine,” said Mahadin, who runs Breathing Web Farms in the Finger Lakes with his wife. “And it could save my farm because what happened with the hemp has been catastrophic.”

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Last month, New York became the second-largest state to legalize recreational marijuana after California, with retail sales expected to begin as early as next year.

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Existing medical marijuana businesses in New York are expected to play a major role in the new adult market, but lawmakers wrote in provisions to mitigate market dominance. Half of the licenses are supposed to go to “social and economic equity” applicants, which would include financially distressed farms.

Regulators are likely months away from answering market-defining questions such as how many licenses will be made available and how much they will cost. High prices for cultivation licenses, for instance, would freeze out some smaller farmers from the market, said Allan Gandelman, president of the New York Cannabis Growers & Processors Association.

And while commercial marijuana is often grown in highly controlled, indoor settings, Gandelman expects regulations to allow farmers to grow outdoors.

Gandelman, who runs Head & Heal CBD products, is among about 700 hemp farmers in the state. Many of them are motivated to move into marijuana not only because of their familiarity with the flower, but a crash in commodity prices driven by oversupply. Even growers who have succeeded in the retail market for CBD, like Gandelman, see marijuana as integral to their future.

New Frontier Data estimates the legal production of smokable flower in New York will surge to 1.3 million pounds by 2025, all of which would have to be grown within the state.

“If you’re a cannabis grower, you should be able to grow cannabis, period,” said Gail Hepworth, CEO of Hempire State Growers in the Hudson Valley.

Hepworth grows hemp at the large organic farm she runs with her sister in the Hudson Valley and they sell CBD products retail and wholesale through their Hempire business. She said keeping farms like hers from the marijuana market would be like telling a tomato farmer “you can only grow beefsteak, you can’t grow cherry tomatoes. It just doesn’t make sense.”

She’d like to follow the same integrated business model for marijuana that they have for CBD, though the law sets limits on most licensed growers from running retail dispensaries.

One exception would be a “microbusiness” license that would allow “limited” growing and selling. Gandelman compared it to New York’s farm brewery program, but with customers coming to picturesque farms to buy craft buds instead of craft beer.

The idea would link cannabis to rural New York’s tourism industry.

“Something I could envision for the northeastern states, and New York is no exception, is for example leaf peeping tours in the fall where you tour a cannabis farm and then you go wandering in the Adirondacks,” said John Kagia chief knowledge officer of New Frontier Data.

Mahadin and his wife Kristin Rocco are considering the microbusiness option for the picturesque farm where they also raise chickens and grow organic vegetables. Ideally, they’d like to grow it outdoors or in a greenhouse.

“I want to stay farming,” he said. “And I want to work with the cannabis plant in all facets.”

Neighboring New Jersey also must establish state regulations for its marijuana market after voters approved legalization in November. New Jersey CannaBusiness Association President Edmund DeVeaux said he did not expect outdoor marijuana growing in New Jersey, in part because of fickle Northeast growing seasons. In Connecticut, lawmakers were considering legislation to legalize recreational marijuana.

In New York, marijuana regulations can’t come soon enough for farmers, who typically plant in early May.

But the five-member board governing the new Office of Cannabis Management has yet to be appointed. Attorney Karl Sleight, who has experience with the state’s cannabis industry, expected more clarity on regulations by Labor Day.

“It might take a little time and the road will be bumpy,” Gandelman said, “but ultimately, this will be a good thing for farmers around the state of New York.”