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Hemp growers call on Cuomo to release regulations in time for harvest

Ellen Abbott
The hemp operation at Beak and Skiff in LaFayette

Hemp industry leaders from across New York are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to put out regulations they need in order to operate their business.

Cuomo has already signed the Hemp Extract Bill, which regulates the state’s growing hemp industry. The problem is, the state hasn’t released the hemp extract regulations that provide a framework for hemp growers, processors and retailers. That is leaving them operating under hemp research permits that expire in October.  

Alan Gandelman, who  runs a CBD company in Cortland and is the president of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association, said the state needs to act now.  

"We cannot continue operating our businesses in New York without a clear regulatory framework, while competing with out of state products being shipped in the state," Gandelman said.

Beak and Skiff Farms in LaFayette is operating a $3-5 million hemp processing operation, with ten full-time employees. Co-owner Eddie Brennan said a lack of New York regulations has a bigger impact than economics.

"We want to produce our product safely, but we also see what’s happening in the market around the state," Brennan said. "There are unsafe products, products that claim they have x-percentage of CBD, and they don’t. We’re worried customers are going to get the wrong product, or try something that’s not effective."

For the last several years, New York has been encouraging farmers to grow hemp. Hemp advocates say without the regulations in place, there’s nowhere for the 700 growers to sell their crop.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.