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New York Moves To Regulate Hemp Industry

Eric Risberg
CBD oil-infused food, drinks and supplements are popular even though the U.S. government says they're illegal. The confusion has some states moving to legalize the cannabis compound that many see as beneficial to their health.

New York State could be among the first in the nation to regulate the hemp industry. That includes CBD, a chemical from the cannabis family. CBD doesn’t get you high, but it can be found now in oils, candies, drinks and lotions that promise “relaxation.”

CBD, a byproduct of hemp, is legal to grow in New York, and new legislation would allow for its extract to be added to food or drinks.

The new law would also regulate hemp growers and processors with licenses that require criminal background checks.

Dave Falkowski, who grows and processes hemp in Bridgehampton, says the regulations won’t be too hard on farmers because they would have a more stable market, but it could make it difficult for new businesses.

“It’s going to be extremely difficult for any small company to get in if they don’t already have inroads.”

The law would also create consumer protections through warning labels and verification to make sure the amount of CBD in the product matches the label.

Falkowski says larger businesses will have an easier time adapting to the new regulations.

“These frameworks are really conducive to big corporations with massive amounts of resources and very often who are going to have larger compliance departments than many of the small players now have, even just on their production floor.”


States that already have significant markets for cannabis like Colorado and Oregon have only just begun to implement the kinds of regulations on hemp production that New York would have right out of the gate.

The legislation is still under review by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Jay Shah is a former Long Island bureau chief at WSHU.