Orange County hemp farm granted license to grow recreational marijuana
A hemp farm in Rock Tavern is among the 52 hemp farms in New York granted a conditional marijuana cultivation license.
Owner Heather Walsh said she and her husband Tom Walsh bought the farm five years ago with the intention of growing hemp.
They farmed four acres of the crop and created a CBD line of products.
"We thought it was going to be successful, it seemed it, we thought it would be," said Heather Walsh.
However, the hemp industry took a nosedive two years ago, causing them to turn their attention to cannabis.
"We are fully switching over," said Heather Walsh.
Two months ago, Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation to create licenses that give existing hemp growers the first shot at growing recreational marijuana.
"Look at New York state maple syrup, best. Look at New York state apples, best. I tell everybody watch New York state cannabis you know about California, watch out because New York is coming," said Tom Walsh.
The couple expects to grow up to 1,000 pounds of premium flower that will be dried in an environmentally controlled area at the farm.
New York legalized recreational weed for adults 21 and older exactly a year ago this month and the homegrown grass could end up on shelves at dispensaries as early as the end of this year.
New York has established social equity into its cannabis industry in other ways.
People with prior marijuana convictions will get priority when the state begins doling out up to 200 dispensary licenses, which are expected to be issued this fall.