Cannabis farmers complain about slow retail rollout
Raga Justin reports in the Times Union that cannabis farmers warned state legislators March 28 that if they don't get more retail stores open soon, they may not have as many cannabis farmers. Many farms have started growing cannabis in anticipation of retail sales across the state after New York legalized recreational cannabis two years ago. But only five retail stores have opened so far, mostly in New York City. Brittany Carbone, a Tioga County hemp farmer, said, "Time is not on our side. ... The season is short and unforgiving.... We will not be able to survive these conditions much longer and will be out of business before the regulations are even finalized." A small mountain of cannabis has been harvested so far in the state, more than the five stores open can sell, and if another harvest comes in, the farmers warn, there will be a collapse in the market. The Office of Cannabis Management recently announced it would double the number of initial retail licenses in the state from 150 to 300, but the pace of new stores opening has not quickened. The slow rollout of cannabis retail stores has been blamed on former Gov. Andrew Cuomo's slow-rolling of initial regulations for sales, a lawsuit which has blocked stores from opening in five regions of the state including the Hudson Valley, and Gov. Kathy Hochul's administration. Read more about this story in the Times Union.