Slack Hollow Farm, a licensed hemp farm and now a conditional cultivation licensee in Argyle, NY. Credit: Seth Jacobs

New York hemp farmers say there is still plenty of time this season for outdoor grows for the 58 new Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator licenses added last week by the Cannabis Control Board. In fact, so long as plants get in the ground by early July, some farmers should get a decent outdoor crop.

“A lot of auto flowers will be going in the ground this week, followed by full terms next week,” said Erik Carbone, a hemp grower who received his conditional license in April. “Was it a short window, yes! But with a solid cultivation plan you can plant between now and early July and with the right genetics you can pull a harvest out by October 1st.”

[Read the latest list of approved Adult-Use Conditional Cultivators.]

“As long as you get it in the ground by July 15, you can pull off a good crop. A lot of it is about being ready to plant,” said Kaelan Castetter, Vice President of the New York Growers and Processors Association. 

“Any farmer in New York who has been approved at this point should be able to get plants in the ground and harvest,” said Carbone. “This is New York, we always find a way.”

“We’re not sown yet, and we’ve sown successfully on June 15, and transplanted on July 15 and done very well,” said Seth Jacobs, another conditional cultivation license holder. “You could save yourself a lot of trouble, actually because the plants are smaller, they won’t need as much trellising, and they won’t need much airflow.”

Over 200 hemp farmers have applied for the grower license, according to the New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), and so far 146 licenses have been approved. The licenses are not merit-based, so any delay is mainly a result of OCM having to review the licenses, before the CCB can approve them in an official meeting. 

“At least CCB is meeting more than once a month now,” said Castetter, who says many growers are hedging their wait time by growing seedlings, which are not illegal under New York law. “I’ve seen people say, we’re going to get our license, so we’re going to get it ready to go”.

New York growers are also anxious for state regulators to provide rules on site security and recordkeeping. 

Castetter believes “we should see guidance in the next couple of weeks on security.” Record keeping is still up in the air, because although regulators put out a request for proposals for a seed-to-sale tracking system in February, a system has yet to be chosen. Even after a system selection, cannabis growers, processors, and dispensaries will need months to setup and integrate that choice into their existing systems.

“We don’t know the standards, we don’t have a market,the whole thing is speculation,” said Jacobs.

For growers, Castetter said, “The state is saying take all these records and the cultivation report, provide everything.”

Doesn’t a year end report leave open a big opportunity to slide in illegal out of state supply? 

“You said it, not me,” said Castetter. “What happens when there’s no stores? It is just going to go out the back door.”


Editor Mike is a co-founder and the editor of Grown In, a U.S. national cannabis industry newsletter and training company. His career has taken him from Capitol Hill to Chicago City Hall, from...