An expansion of industrial hemp farming was one of Governor Cuomo’s proposals Wednesday at his regional State of the State address in Syracuse.
"I think this could be a great economic opportunity for the Southern Tier," Cuomo said.
At the moment, industrial hemp can only be grown through research projects connected to Morrisville State College or Cornell University. The number of sites that can grow it is capped at 10.
But Cuomo wants to change that.
"We’re gonna lift the cap on all hemp farming, let private market come in, let private farms be constructed," he said. "And it'll partner with the Department of [Agriculture] and Markets to make sure we're developing the industry correctly."
Cuomo also plans to host a “hemp summit” in the Southern Tier, but hasn't given a date for that.
Two Southern Tier lawmakers, State Senator Tom O’Mara (R-Big Flats) and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) have sponsored laws to encourage an industrial hemp industry in the state. A pilot program for industrial hemp began in 2016.
In a statement, Lupardo said, “When the Federal Government gave the green light in 2014, I knew the Southern Tier was an ideal spot given our rich farming history and the amount of available land. New York is poised to be a leader in this expanding industry and I thank the Governor for recognizing its value to our region and state.”