New York State Sizes Up The Green Gold Rush | National | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

New York State Sizes Up The Green Gold Rush 

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All of this has created a CBD market that's a bit like the Wild West, with little to no quality control. A 2017 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at 84 CBD products sold online, and found that 26 percent of them had less CBD than advertised, and 43 percent had more. Heavy metals, pesticides, bacteria, and other contaminants have also been found in CBD products.

There have been wasted opportunities in hemp, too. The 2018 Farm Bill removed industrial hemp from the controlled substances list; since then, New York state has operated a pilot program through the Department of Agriculture and Markets. But the infrastructure required by local farmers to take advantage of this growing market is sorely lacking. There are 100,000 acres of industrial hemp in cultivation this year, but no processing facilities or private testing labs online in the state.

The MRTA originally didn't include anything that would regulate CBD. But the most recent version of the bill brings hemp, CBD, and medical and adult-use recreational marijuana under the auspices of the Office of Cannabis Management and creates new regulatory frameworks for each sector.

Next Steps

If legalization happens through the legislature next year, it will be because the different competing camps came together in support of the MRTA. The other option is to approve a package as part of the executive budget process, which concludes on April 1 each year. To this point, there has been little talk of a statewide ballot initiative.

Regardless of when it happens, the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act is not completely prescriptive. It leaves a lot of decision making to the Office of Cannabis Management and other regulatory authorities and raises questions it doesn't explicitly provide answers to. "Setting up a comprehensive system for cannabis will take time and requires thoughtful efforts on the part of state government, agriculture, and business to develop," Senator Metzger says.

"This is going to be a massive market with massive demand," Castetter says. "We all have to think logistically about how we get ready for that demand, responsibly."

This story is a collaboration with The River, a digital Hudson Valley newsroom covering regional topics of national importance. Sign up for The River's weekly newsletter.

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