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Oversight Lacking In New York's Nascent Hemp Industry, Audit Finds

Gillian Flaccus

New York regulators failed to test over 40% of industrial hemp growers for the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana, THC. That’s according to an audit released this week by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

DiNapoli says the industrial hemp production in the state has grown so rapidly that it hasn’t always kept up with established practices when reviewing applications, conducting inspections and sampling plants.

Many growers in the state program produced hemp products in 2018 without a proper inspection. That means products that contain CBD that’s now found in products like oils, lotions, dog food and candy could also have higher-than-allowed levels of THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets users high.

DiNapoli blamed incomplete records and unreliable data systems for the lack of monitoring.

New York approved a new streamlined regulatory pathway for hemp products this month. The state will also host a summit in January to help develop policies for the growing industry. 

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.