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Long Island hemp farmers seek approval to start growing marijuana for recreational use

Hemp farmers across Long Island are seeking approval to start growing marijuana for recreational use now that it's legal in New York.

News 12 Staff

Apr 21, 2021, 2:51 AM

Updated 1,131 days ago

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Hemp farmers across Long Island are seeking approval to start growing marijuana for recreational use now that it's legal in New York.
Ken Jurrow started growing hemp along with the flowers and vegetables he grows at his Aquebogue farm. He's now anxiously awaiting word from the state about applying for a license to grow marijuana for recreational use.
"It may be the greatest new, burgeoning business opportunity in America right now," says Jurrow. "From my perspective it's exceedingly important that the cultivation licenses be evaluated and issued as early as possible because the lag time is tremendous. It could take eight to 10 months to get a product that's ready to sell."
Longtime orchard grower Bill Bianchi also hopes the state soon establishes the licensing process for growers. When Bianchi started growing hemp at his greenhouse operation in Riverhead last year, there were already 750 other licensed growers. Bianchi says he expects another rush of people applying for marijuana-growing licenses.
"We think there's an important future here for marijuana because it pays more than hemp," says Bianchi.
Some farmers are hoping the marijuana business will help save their livelihoods, but it may not be that easy.
"My suspicion is that whatever happens is going to be so heavily regulated that you're going to see a lot of hoops and hurdles that people will have to need to deal with," says Rob Carpenter, president of the Long Island Farm Bureau. "So it's not going to be something that people will just jump into and take lightly."
The state still must set up a special commission that will have the job of establishing rules covering the growth, distribution, and sale of marijuana.
Retail sales of marijuana aren't expected in New York for at least another year to a year and a half.


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