Wednesday, June 12, 2019

New York farmers call for cannabis legalization

New York farmers: Legalize marijuana so we can grow it - Jon Campbell, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle:

June 12, 2019 - "The New York Farm Bureau issued a memo Monday backing a bill that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana in New York, which lawmakers are considering before they end their annual session June 19.

"The bill, which is struggling to gain enough support in the Democrat-led Senate, includes measures meant to ensure struggling farmers in New York's poorer counties get a chance to break in to the marijuana and hemp extract industries. That was enough to garner the support of the organization representing thousands of farms in the state....

"The Farm Bureau's backing comes as pro-marijuana lawmakers are courting their fellow lawmakers to pledge their support for the bill, which would create a new Office of Cannabis Management to oversee the recreational and medicinal marijuana industries, as well as the hemp extract industry. Only those above the age of 21 would be able to legally purchase marijuana, and local governments would have the ability to hold a public referendum to block legal sales within their borders....

"The Farm Bureau's support could help draw the backing of rural lawmakers, some of whom have been on the fence and are often eager to help the agriculture industry. 'Including New York agriculture both as cultivators and as advisors for cannabis would help make this program a success for the state, if legalized,' the Farm Bureau wrote.

"As of last week, 30 Senate Democrats had pledged support for legalizing marijuana or were leaning that way, while nine were leaning against it or undecided. A bill needs 32 total votes to pass, and the Senate's Democratic majority doesn't often bring bills to the floor for a vote unless they have enough Democratic votes to pass them.... Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pledged to sign it if passed."

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