Struggling farms across New York state look to legal recreational pot production for business
MILTON, N.Y. — Adult-use marijuana sales will begin in New York before the end of the year, the state’s Office of Cannabis Management promised Friday.
All the marijuana sold in New York must also be grown in New York.
On the banks of the river, under the Hudson Valley sun, cannabis consultant Michael Hart is nurturing one of New York’s first crops of legal recreational pot.
“Healthy plant, that’s the starting of the game, always try to have healthy plant, healthy seeding,” he told CBS2’s Tony Aiello.
Hart works with Ulster County’s Hepworth Farms, which is expanding from vegetables, such as cucumbers, to cannabis.
“We are seriously introducing it into the agriculture community as an alternative crop. Agriculture is so important in New York as an industry and also that, we’re struggling,” farm co-owner Gail Hepworth said.
The state is allowing Hepworth exactly one acre for its crop. It’s one of 200 struggling farms that got conditional grow licenses as the state slowly ramps up production.
Hepworth will apply for a full grow license that will allow them to expand acreage. The farm has been producing hemp for CBD products since 2019, so the move to marijuana is a natural progression, which doesn’t mean it’s easy.
From seed to seedling to eventual smokeable bud, the stage of every pot plant grown in the state of New York will be tracked and recorded.
Tight regulation governs the production of a product intended to help users chill.
“Very, very regulated. So I compare CBD as like playing little league baseball, and then when you get to adult-use cannabis, to the World Series,” Hepworth Farms attorney Jason Minard said.
Hepworth believes it will be bringing to market some world class pot.
“We have rich soils and we have beautiful air. We have great water,” she said.
One acre of green gold in the ground, the start of a budding business.