Craft Cannabis Farming
NY Small Farm Alliance of Cannabis Growers (NY Small FarmA) Legislative Priorities
1) Keep New York’s Cannabis Money in New York State: The State is first shaping this new industry. We don’t want corporate cannabusinesses controlling this industry. We want the state to provide direct financial and professional support to farmers and small entrepreneurs, taking the opportunity of legalization to affirmatively create businesses across the state. We are urging the state to partner with New Yorkers in a socio-economic accelerator program. The State should fund 5 accelerators in strategic locations across NY, licensed to perform all aspects of the business from seed to sale, enabling regular New Yorkers the opportunity to participate in this new industry and ensuring a socially equitable supply chain.
We want as many of the billions New Yorkers are going to be paying annually for cannabis, to stay in New York, creating good paying jobs and businesses for regular New Yorkers. We want the state to craft the law so as to ensure access to opportunity for people and communities of color, redressing the impact the disproportionate criminalization of cannabis inflicted.
2) Amend the Agriculture and Markets Law precisely as was done for Cannabis Sativa hemp, recognizing this Cannabis Sativa as an agricultural crop as well.
3) Zoning Immunity: In order to avoid mistakes made previously by other states such as Massachusetts, it is imperative that New York’s new law expressly provide zoning immunity for growers who are already in agricultural districts, as existing right to farm protections alone are insufficient. Even a crop that one has the right to farm can be prohibited by local planning boards if it’s seen as a threat to the public health and safety - precisely the type of misconception that exists for cannabis given how long it’s been erroneously classified with heroin and other dangerous narcotics.
4) Environmentally Conscious Industry: The State must take seriously its commitment to reducing carbon emissions and any new law authorizing the growing of a new crop should include the provisions of the Carbon Farming Act. Particularly for indoor cultivation, one of the most energy intensive industries in the nation, the State should require that all fossil-fuel generated energy be seriously reduced and offset 100% with renewables. The State should also mandate that all cannabis in NY be grown without any synthetic pesticides and that all growing, indoor and out, comport with best carbon reduction practices.
5) Limit the risk of Industrial Takeover: Control both the size and the number of licenses for large operations, intentionally prohibiting the growth of a large corporate cannabis industry dominated by a few players. The state should have no limit on the number of licenses it can award to small farm and craft growers, who by definition will be limited in size. Licenses for cooperatives and farm microbusinesses (cannabiseries) should also be unlimited and those licenses alone should include vertical integration because those business models provide for shared wealth and opportunity. The farm cooperative and cannabiseries must be able to thrive the way craft farm breweries have, including a license to sell directly to the public. Licenses for women and people of color should also be prioritized.