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Marijuana growers could sell last year’s crop to Indigenous groups as retail cannabis market fails to get rolling

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Last week, the New York Legislature passed a bill giving a ray of hope to marijuana growers sitting on thousands of pounds of unsold crops.

The legislation, aiming to revitalize the underperforming retail cannabis market, permits the sale of stockpiled marijuana to tribal nations.

Only 12 stores have opened in New York since marijuana legalization two years ago, despite more than 200 licensed growers producing around 300,000 pounds of cannabis last year.


Tribal nations, including the Seneca Nation in upstate and the Shinnecock Indian Nation on Long Island, have supported the legislation.

The Office of Cannabis Management is also considering a proposal that would temporarily allow growers to sell last year’s crops at various venues, including concerts, fairs, and farmers markets.

The proposal aims to connect growers with retail license holders who have been unable to open their stores. Meanwhile, established medical marijuana companies, known as “registered organizations” (ROs), are set to open retail stores by the end of this year, amidst concerns by small farmers and retailers about their competitive chances in the industry.

The slow rollout of the retail sector, along with the burgeoning illicit marijuana market, have created a challenging environment for legal cannabis businesses in the state.