CORTLAND, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) The industrial hemp business in New York State appears to be growing fast as legislatures considers 2020 proposals.
It was the 31st proposal in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State plan in 2017.
One of the first farms in the state to be licensed was Main Street Farms in Cortland. The company, at the time, was growing produce.
“At the time it was more like, let’s just give this a try and see what happens,” owner Allan Gandelman told NewsChannel 9.
The past growing season, Main Street Farms grew about 40 acres of hemp, nearly triple what it was doing just two years ago.
“The state has done a really good job in terms of licensing growers and putting regulations in place to make sure that the products we’re producing are safe and the consumers have trust in them,” said Gandelman.
Gandelman helped New York State craft the program that’s in place now.
“The way they set the program up, it is successful and the new legislation they just passed is also going to increase the amount of products being brought to market and just increase that consumer trust,” Gandelman said. “And as far as all the other stuff, it’s just a time will tell kind of thing as to who can do it right, just like in any new business, some work and some don’t.”
In December, Cuomo signed legislation (S.6184/A.7680) establishing a regulatory framework for the production and sale of hemp and hemp extract in New York State.
The measure also requires the hemp industry to test and label their products, protecting consumers from potential harm.
Gandelman explains all of the hemp they harvest is used for making CBD.
“All of this we use in our own Head and Heal products, so this is all certified organic hemp that goes into our extraction room,” he said.
Going forward, Gandelman said CBD products will only represent a small portion of what customers will use industrial hemp for from New York growers.
“Over the next five to ten years what we’re really seeing is the fiber and the grain side, the textile use, battery use,” Gandelman told NewsChannel 9. “I think once that infrastructure develops we’ll see most people growing hemp for industrial uses, replacing plastics and those sorts of things.”
Head & Heal products can be found in a large number of retail locations, along with every one of Wegmans’ stores in the U.S. and soon will be found in all Kinney Drug Stores too.
Main Street Farms and Head & Heal employ about 50 people. but will look to add between 20 to 30 more workers this year.
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