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Long Island farm awarded license to sell marijuana in New York

marijuana cannabis
Courtesy David Falkowski

New York has approved 36 licenses in another round of applications to sell recreational marijuana in the state.

More than 200 applications have been submitted to the state Office of Cannabis Management in New York since March; 88 have so far been approved.

“New York is building the most inclusive cannabis industry in the country and including small farmers with an expertise is an essential component in accomplishing that goal,” said Chris Alexander, the agency’s executive director. “The growing season isn’t waiting for anyone.”

To drive education and information around the legal marijuana industry, the state released the newest part of its Cannabis Conversation public education campaign last month, through Television, billboards, social media and transit advertisements. Part of the effort is to keep New Yorkers safe, Alexander said.

“In the overarching campaign, those focus on making sure New Yorkers don't drive under the influence,” he said. “They understand to keep secondhand smoke cannabis away from other people. They properly store the cannabis in the household keeping out of reach from children and pets and raising awareness about the risks cannabis poses to youth and the growing brains.”

David Falkowski, owner of Open Minded Organics Farm in Bridgehampton, was the only Long Island business that was awarded a license to legally sell pot this round.

“To receive a license is both exciting, liberating and also anxiety and burden because there's a lot of work ahead of us,” Falkowski said. “We had an idea of generally what's coming, but now we're doing the work, so that's why I say it's a bit of a burden. It's not like we just get to go out and just start doing this stuff and dancing around the garden. There’s a lot of paperwork behind this.”

Falkowski’s farm was also one of the first licensed industrial hemp growers in New York.

“Our journey in hemp, which started in late 2017 when the New York State's program opened up, has been a fantastic journey for us and our community,” Falkowski said. “My farm has been around for 20 years growing organic mushrooms and clean food, and a founding member of many farmers markets. There's been many people in the community who were just quite happy to see folks like us who they were familiar with to have these opportunities.”

The deadline to submit an application in New York ends on June 30. Licenses are only given to New York farms that are already growing cannabinoid hemp.

Natalie is a former news fellow with WSHU Public Radio.