New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo did not make a stop in the Southern Tier to give one of his six State of the State addresses. While in Syracuse on Wednesday, the governor mentioned the Southern Tier region by name only once, to discuss hemp.
“The Southern Tier is actually ideal for hemp farming industry,” Cuomo said. “We want to be very aggressive. We believe it could be a billion dollar industry. We want the Southern Tier to lead the way.”
New York State’s industrial hemp program began in 2014 after Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo introduced and passed legislation which allowed hemp to be grown for research purposes. This law followed action by the Federal Government, which included a section in the 2014 Farm Bill to allow states to grow hemp when partnering with their Departments of Agriculture or licensed universities.
Last August, the State Legislature passed Lupardo’s second industrial hemp bill, which allowed for the sale and distribution of hemp grown under a pilot program. That program was capped at 10 hemp farming licenses. Cuomo announced Wednesday he is looking to change that.
“He is purposing to remove the 10 license limit,” said Lupardo. “So the Governor was persuaded that not only can we grow it in our state, but it is a commodity people want to buy for various purposes.”
Cuomo’s new proposal would allow private farms and business begin growing hemp.