Gov. Cuomo just signed new regulations for the fast-growing hemp industry. Growers say that’s good

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed into law new regulations on one of the state’s fastest-growing and newest industries: hemp.

Some industry players say the new rules could be good for their businesses.

The law creates regulations for growing, processing and selling hemp products. The hemp industry is projected to triple its sales to $2 billion by 2021. Because of that, new businesses are popping up around upstate New York — including in the Albany area — to take advantage of the growing market.

“The hemp industry in New York is exploding and with that growth comes a responsibility to regulate the industry in a way that helps ensure its long-term viability and protects consumers,” Cuomo said in a statement. “By establishing a regulatory framework for producing and selling hemp and hemp extract we can set the industry on a path to continued growth in a smart, safe way that empowers both farmers and consumers.”

Some upstate hemp growers say the new state rules (S6184A/A7680A) could lead to more business opportunities. It’s a chance for growers and processors here in the state to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace, they say.

One of those farmers, Allan Gandelman, was glad to hear Cuomo signed the law. Gandelman runs Main Street Farms in Cortland, where he started growing hemp about two years ago. He is the president of trade organization New York Cannabis Growers & Processors Coalition.

“We’re very happy that he signed the bill. That’s great news, perfect timing,” Gandelman said.

Gandelman has a retail brand called Head and Heal that makes CBD tinctures, lotions and other products. (CBD — short for cannabidiol — is a component of cannabis plants. Industrial hemp is cultivated to only have CBD, different from other cannabis plants that are grown to have THC, a psychoactive chemical.)

One of the requirements under the new law is that all products with CBD sold in New York must say where the hemp was grown, among other labeling specifications. Gandelman believes that change will help clean up store shelves and protect consumers from low-quality products.

“All of those could start getting removed from the market, and then all of the good-quality, New York stuff that’s regulated and made here could take its place,” Gandelman said. “Anything that’s shipped in from out-of-state will have to meet our standards.”

More regulations on hemp could come soon. There’s another set of recently proposed regulations from the state departments of health and agriculture and markets that some say could cut costs for medical marijuana companies and give a boost in business to hemp growers upstate. Those regulations are in a 60-day public comment period.

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