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3 Western New York growers included in initial round of licenses to cultivate marijuana

State still has to award licenses for outlets to sell what is grown, as New York's slow rollout of legalized recreational marijuana sales inches forward.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — New York State's Office of Cannabis Management approved 52 licenses Thursday that will allow hemp farmers to get a head start on growing marijuana for recreational use.

They are scattered throughout upstate New York and Long Island, including 3 in Western New York.

"We already have everything lined up. We were just waiting on approval for that license so now things can start moving forward at a more rapid pace," said Kerry Trammel of The Releaf Market just outside of Jamestown in Chautauqua County.

Wheatfield Gardens in North Tonawanda and Yager farms in Eden were also granted Adult Use Conditional Cultivator licenses, which will be good for two years.  

In order to secure the license applicants had to have, among other conditions, been a licensed grower of hemp for at least two years and in good standing with the state's Department of Agriculture and Markets.

In addition, each of the more than 150 applicants had to pay a $2,000 non-refundable application fee.

"Once our conditional licenses expires we will have the opportunity to reapply for a cultivator license or another type of license that we want to see our business going toward," explained Trammel. "But there will be a fee and that fee will probably be more of an increase. It won't be a $2,000 fee at that point."

A host of other types of licenses will eventually be granted by the state under its approved recreational marijuana program, governing who will be able to grow it, process it, deliver it, and sell it on a retail basis.

With each type of license there will be ownership limits, and limits on the which sectors of the business one who holds a license may be involved in.

Under the law, for example, the holder of a cultivator's license may not be involved in the retail sector...while a licensed retailer shall not be permitted to have any interest in a licensee involved in cultivating, processing, or distribution.

The holder of a nursery license may raise plants from seed but must sell them to a licensed cultivator before the plants become matures, unless they have a cultivators license, in which case they can start their own plants.

One holding a processors license may extract compounds from cannabis but only sell what they process to licensed distributor.

The exception to many of the "crossover" rules is for those who are granted an Adult Use Microbusiness license, in which the licensee is allowed to grow, process, distribute, deliver and sell a limited amount of the cannabis product which they wholly produce.

These and other rules may also be updated as the program develops further.

For Trammel and other growers, the granting of a conditional license now comes just in time to allow her to begin her initial crop and bring it to harvest in the fall.



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