Published on July 8, 2019
By: Alyssa Piersimoni, NY Hemp Nexus
New York state legislators recently passed a new hemp regulation bill that will adversely effect CBD businesses throughout the state (if signed into law). This new piece of legislation requires that retailers sell products that were produced in-state; if retailers want to sell out-of-state products, they must meet the new labeling requirements.
Under the new bill, all products are required to contain warning labels as well as QR codes that when scanned, will bring consumers to a website giving them information regarding CBD use and dosage information. Not only do companies have to add to their labels, but now they will have to bear the cost of the production of QR codes as well as the cost of hosting an informational website.
The majority of CBD retailers in the area carry products from across the United States. Jodi Tunison, owner of CBDepot in Greece, is one of those retailers. “(If) you can’t carry products that weren’t grown and processed in New York State, I’m out of business,” says Tunison in an interview with RochesterFirst.com. It’s unlikely that out-of-state processors will be willing to change their labeling of products to conform to New York state’s guidelines when they can just sell to any other state that doesn’t have the same requirements.
Legislators such as Assemblyperson Donna Lupardo (D-Binghamton), claim that this bill will protect and benefit consumers, “It’s very important that we put in place regulations to not only protect consumers, but to provide guidance to our farmers and our producers.” Yet consumers may soon no longer have access to the products they want and need because these regulations may potentially put some local shops out of business.
“It’s going to set this industry up to fail because if people can’t get what they want here, they’ll just order (it) online,” says Jim Mackenzie, owner of HempSol in Henrietta. Jim makes a valid point; consumers today don’t like to wait and because of the internet, they don’t have to.
Sheila Doyle, Managing Director of High Falls Hemp, a New York-based hemp-derived product manufacturer, told Cannabis Dispensary Magazine that they’ve been shipping with the USPS for over a year. “It is a big deal for the industry to be able to ship via USPS, and I also think it is a great move for the USPS to get in on the ground floor by accepting this industry,” says Doyle.
New York is blossoming with hemp businesses all over the state, retailers are to the point where they have regular customers buying their products. But now, they may no longer be able to carry the products their customers like and trust. “I’m all for doing business locally,” says Tunison, “put me in touch with a great New York hemp grower that produces a great product and I’ll put it in my store.” Both Tunison and Mackenzie agree that “New York state just isn’t up to par with hemp farmers in other states, we’re far behind the curve.”
Again, the question arises, how is this bill benefiting consumers or any businesses involved in the hemp industry? Lawmakers and politicians are making hemp out to be a big, scary drug that needs regulation after regulation when in reality, it’s an exceptionally beneficial plant that has been used for hundreds of years with thousands of productive uses. Not only do humans and man’s best friend have an endocannabinoid system whose purpose is to process cannabinoids (cannabinoids are derived from the hemp plant), but hemp can be used to make paper, clothes, build houses, the list goes on. Hemp is good for humans, animals and the environment. What exactly do consumers need protection from again?
The bill has been sent to the governor’s desk; once signed, the new regulations will be enforced 90 days from the day it was signed. According to Newsday.com, sponsors Senator Jen Metzger and Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo went forward with this bill without prior agreement from Cuomo. The Governor says he needs more time to review the bill before he signs; “Government 101, read the bill,” said Cuomo. “Before you support it.” The U.S. Hemp Roundtable has created and sent a proposal to the Governor and its sponsors “that would protect small farmers and businesses as well as ensure broad access to consumers for a variety of CBD products.”
So for now, hemp growers, processors and retailers are left in limbo until provisions are made or the bill is signed.