After decades of importing hemp from other countries, in recent years several states have begun legalizing hemp farming for industrial purposes. New York is one of many states to take this action, with recent legislation making it the 11th in the nation to legalize hemp.
As with other states, New York's law establishes a pilot program and limits hemp production to certain kinds of organizations, rather than allowing anyone to establish hemp crops without restriction or oversight.
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The following people and organizations played important roles in legalizing hemp in New York.
1. Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell)
In 2014, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo introduced legislation that would allow the growing of industrial hemp for research purposes. The bill applies to the state's Department of Agriculture and to colleges and universities. Lupardo told broadcast station WGRZ
, "This is a great opportunity for New York state to start the research. Because if we're going to begin a whole new industry, we should get a handle on what the proper growing conditions are (and) what parts of the state would work best. It would give us a huge jump on states when this becomes legal for production."
2. State Sen. Thomas O'Mara (R-Elmira)
Sen. Thomas O'Mara co-sponsored the bill introduced by Lupardo. In a news release, O'Mara said
, "The New York Farm Bureau, Cornell University researchers and other agricultural leaders and farm advocates recognize industrial hemp as a potentially lucrative way to provide new economic opportunities and a competitive edge for our farmers. This pilot program will help New York State begin to secure a strong position at the forefront of a future industry that can diversify and strengthen our agricultural economy, generate revenue and create jobs."
3. New York State Farm Bureau
The Farm Bureau supported legalizing hemp farming in the state, promoting it as a valuable source of income for state farmers. In 2014, bureau president Dean Norton told WGRZ that "Diversification is important as farms look to remain successful in a global marketplace, and industrial hemp could be another profitable alternative for agriculture, which in turn, would help boost the state's rural economy."
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