Lawmakers and hemp growers are stressing taking action
As the buds of New York’s cannabis industry root and take shape, lawmakers and hemp growers are stressing taking action in the 2022 legislative session to expand cannabis entrepreneurs’ use of industrialized hemp — creating new opportunities for farmers.
New legislation proposed by Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Michelle Hinchey, D-Saugerties, would require the state Cannabis Control Board to develop detailed plans for the packaging and labeling of newly legalized recreational cannabis products and mandate the Office of Cannabis Management and Empire State Development create a sustainable cannabis packaging incubator program to give financial incentives to farmers and cannabis entrepreneurs to produce and use hemp-based materials.
“A lot of cannabis packaging uses a process with single-use plastic and individual servings, so it has a lot of waste,” Hinchey said. “We have to find ways to stop filling our landfills. As we create an entire new industry upstate, one that is pretty waste-creating, we should have a circular economy making sure that cannabis products are packaged with biodegradable hemp to make sure it will create much less waste as we start this new industry.”
Bill S7508 is in the Senate Rules Committee. The new proposed legislation will be one of several cannabis-related measures discussed in the upcoming 2022 legislative session, which starts Wednesday.
Unlike other crops, hemp can grow in most climates and on most farmland, requiring less water and no pesticides or herbicides, according to the senator’s office.
Hemp-derived composites are 3.5 times stronger than conventional plastics and can replace a multitude of plastic items — such as water bottles, packaging, construction materials and car parts — and are biodegradable, taking between three to six months to decompose. Petroleum-based plastics take over 400 years to break down.
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