New York is taking its first steps toward regulating the growth of industrial hemp, joining 19 other states with sanctioned programs. Industrial Hemp – the plant Cannabis sativa L. with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content no greater than 0.3% - can be transformed into a myriad of products ranging from cordage to automotive parts and yes, even Mushroom® Materials. Ecovative supports the formation of the domestic industrial hemp industry. We have tracked the progress in our region and especially within New York. In our home state we are pleased to see that steps are being taken to execute a pilot program that allows institutes of higher education to conduct research on industrial hemp. New York already approved this pilot program. The next step is to pass the permissions and restrictions surrounding that program. If proposed regulations are passed, this research can entail anything from cultivation and harvesting methods to market development. In addition, Ecovative supports the proposed legislation to add Part 159 to 1 NYCRR, which establishes regulations for research test-plots of industrial hemp. In its current form, the authorized institutes of higher education conducting the research can engage subcontractors to help with aspects of the project.
It is Ecovative’s hope that this will allow the local agricultural community to be involved with the projects and learn best practices around growing industrial hemp. In a similar manner, material processors and commercial interests including Ecovative will hopefully be able to take part in these research programs. Early and active engagement by various stakeholder groups in the development of New York’s industrial hemp industry will help to demonstrate the utility of this material and these efforts can be used a framework for other states seeking to adopt similar legislation. As a material processor, manufacturer, and product development company based in New York, Ecovative believes it is prudent to develop all three parts of the industrial hemp industry – crop growth, material processing, and finished product development. A comprehensive approach to develop will ensure the success of this industry, reducing the risk of delays we have seen in Canada’s development of its own industry.
Ecovative would be highly interested in participating in the appropriate studies to help develop material processing and finished product markets that will utilize New York-grown industrial hemp in the future. At Ecovative we are always on the lookout for new agricultural materials that can be grown and developed in our local region to the benefit of our farmers. This program will benefit the local agricultural community by proving out how a successful and economically feasible industrial hemp crop can be grown in New York. While there won’t be any Mushroom Materials made from New York-grown industrial hemp available anytime soon (the law prohibits the sale or distribution of any of the industrial hemp grown in the test plots), we believe authorizing this pilot program is a meaningful first step. A public hearing will be held on Wednesday, May 20th at 11am at the office of the Department of Agriculture and Markets, 10B Airline Drive, in Albany. Ecovative will attend to show its support of the proposed legislation, and is expected to give testimony. We encourage you to join us at the hearing and show support for this statute. -Katie Malysa Supplemental Information Below
The Path of Relevant Legislation:
The Agricultural Act of 2014 (also known as the farm bill) made it legal for states to establish research programs for industrial hemp. In December 2014 Governor Cuomo signed a hemp research bill thus creating an avenue for New York institutes of higher education to pursue test-plot studies relating to the growth of industrial hemp. At this time Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets Richard Ball is proposing legislation that would add Part 159 to 1 NYCRR and establish the regulations around the pilot program.
The Department of Agriculture and Markets drafted the proposed legislation earlier this year. Revisions were made based on feedback given at a meeting of the Industrial Hemp Work Group. The group consisted of representatives of higher education institutions that may be involved in the pilot program, Department members, and an Ecovative representative, among others.
A public hearing will take place on Wednesday, May 20th at 11am at the office of the Department of Agriculture and Markets, 10B Airline Drive, in Albany. Ecovative is expected to give testimony and show its support of the proposed legislation.
Industrial Hemp Products Information:
Source: Johnson, Renee. Congressional Research Service Report “Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity”. 12 February 2015. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL32725.pdf