Memorandum of Support for A2682/S4340

The New York Growers & Processors Association is a coalition of New York based hemp growers and processors who actively advocate for laws and regulations that support and encourage a vibrant, diverse, and sustainable cannabis industry. We express our strong support for the passage of A-2682/S-4340 and our members recognize the urgent need to repair harmful regulations proposed by the NYS Department of Health (NYS DOH) that would prohibit the sale of hemp flower to the consumer.

The NYS DOH included in their proposed regulations for cannabinoid hemp products, a prohibition of “hemp flower products”. This refers to the unprocessed flower harvested from federally and state legal hemp. Preparation of flower for sale to the consumer requires no processing and in result is the least capital-intensive form of bringing a hemp crop to market.

The ability for farmers to access multiple streams of commerce for the products that they grow provides a key mechanism to diversify income streams in an already tight margined business. The NYS DOH proposal for an all-out ban on flower sales presents a serious threat to the success of the fledgling New York hemp industry and will be detrimental to farmers.

Hemp flower is among the most popular and fastest growing segments of the CBD market, and prohibition cuts off the one of the only practical and lucrative avenues for growers. By preventing retailers from carrying hemp flower, farmers must rely on selling directly to processors at a significantly reduced per pound basis than if they sold flower.

The price per pound of hemp has plummeted to less than $4.00 currently from a high of $40.00 as recently as summer 2019. According to data collected by Hemp Benchmarks, as of July the price for a pound of premium unprocessed hemp flower was nearly 20 times that of a pound of hemp biomass (homogenized flower, stems, and leaves that requires further processing). With rates for hemp biomass eroding dramatically and fewer processors willing to pay cash for such raw material, unprocessed hemp flower has become a more prevalent production target among growers seeking higher commodity prices.

The passage of A2682/S-4340 will not only serve to help hemp growers, processors, and retailers in the midst of historic economic challenges – it will also allow consumers access to tested and safe hemp flower products.