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Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

October 23, 2020

NYS Extends Hemp Program

We last reported in this alert that the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets had announced its intent not to submit a NYS hemp plan to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). As a result, hemp cultivation licenses under the state program were set to expire at the end of October 2020, with the research pilot program licenses expiring on November 1. The announcement had licensed growers and processors scrambling to apply to the USDA for approval under the federal program in time for the 2021 growing season.

Since that report, federal legislation amended the 2018 Farm Bill through HR8337, extending its provisions to September 30, 2021. Recognizing the state’s action unsettled its over 700 growers and processors, on October 13, 2020, in yet another twist, the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets informed its growers and processors that it would follow suit and extend the state program through September 30, 2021.

What can we expect from New York State during this time? While Governor Cuomo signed a comprehensive law regulating growing and manufacturing of hemp and hemp products in December 2019, regulations implementing the law have yet to be seen. Hopefully this extension will provide ample time to propose much-needed regulations for the burgeoning hemp industry. Until we see more definitive regulations, however, at least growers and processors have another season to operate under the existing NYS program.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Aleece Burgio, Cannabis Team leader, at; Mary Volcko, project specialist, at; or another member of the firm’s Cannabis Team.


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