The first-ever cannabis farmers market in New York opened on August 10th in the Hudson Valley. The “Cannabis Growers Showcase” will feature products from four farms and a processor as part of the state’s new Cannabis Growers Showcase (CGS) program. The event was organized by High Falls Canna, a family-owned cannabis cultivation company that has distributed products to a handful of retail dispensaries.
This market is significant in light of recent lawsuits that have temporarily halted the state from issuing and processing new licenses for retailers. With the increasing demand for cannabis here in New York, this farmers market could provide a potential solution for accessing products until the legal issues are resolved.
Overview of Cannabis Growers Showcase (CGS)
The CGS program is the first of its kind in New York and is designed to provide a space for cannabis cultivators to sell their products directly to consumers. The program was created in response to the increasing demand for cannabis in New York and delays in licensing new retail shops.
The CGS program requires applicants to demonstrate that they have at least three licensed adult-use cannabis cultivators and one conditional retail licensee. For every three additional cultivators, another provisional vendor must be included at the event. It will take place until the end of the year or a traditional retailer opens in the village, with applications still being accepted until December 1st, 2023.
Initially, on-site consumption will be prohibited because permitting people to use marijuana at the markets would require additional permitting from the state Department of Public Health. However, organizers can seek approval and hold the farmer’s markets on their own property or join other events like concerts, fairs, and festivals that are being separately organized.
The program also provides templates of approval letters for municipalities and associated events along with the applications last month, inventory lists, attestation letters for CGS licensees, and sample diagrams showing how events can be physically laid out. This is meant to ensure that all events are safe and organized in accordance with state law.
Impact of Recent Lawsuit on Licensing Process for Retailers
The CGS program is especially valuable in light of the recent lawsuits that have caused delays in licensing new retail shops. Last month, the board approved an additional 212 provisional retailer licenses—the largest batch of approvals to date.
However, a New York judge recently ordered regulators to temporarily stop processing cannabis business license applications after a group of military veterans filed a lawsuit arguing that the state is violating the legalization law by prioritizing licenses for certain social equity applicants.
As a result, fewer than two dozen adult-use retailers are operating in the state. The CGS program could provide an alternate solution for accessing products until the legal issues are resolved, and the full rollout of retail shops is completed.
Benefits of the CGS Program for Farmers and Consumers
The CGS program provides numerous benefits to both farmers and consumers alike. For farmers, it gives them an additional venue to market their products while also allowing them to connect directly with customers. It also helps reduce overhead costs associated with selling products at retail outlets since farmers can sell directly instead of paying a middleman or distributor.
The market provides consumers an opportunity to purchase products from local farms and makers in a safe environment. It also allows them to learn more about the products they buy and establish relationships with the farmers or producers. This is especially beneficial for those needing access to a legal retail dispensary due to location or other logistical issues.
The current CGS program is limited to farmers’ markets, but the organizers hope to expand it. They have proposed adding special events such as music festivals and educational workshops to the program. This would allow farmers to reach a larger audience and provide more opportunities for consumers to learn about products from different producers.
It could also lead to increased sales for farmers, which would benefit the industry as a whole. Additionally, this could provide an additional source of revenue for local businesses and create more jobs in the area.
The opening of New York’s first cannabis farmers market is a significant milestone for the state and an exciting development for both growers and consumers. It provides growers with a new outlet to sell their products directly while allowing consumers access to local products in a safe and regulated environment.
The CGS program is just one example of how the cannabis industry is adapting to meet the needs of its constituents and could eventually be expanded to include unique events that provide even more opportunities for farmers and consumers alike. As New York continues to grow and evolve in this new market, it will undoubtedly be a leader in providing consumers with increased access and choice in quality products.