Medical cannabis is permitted in New York state thanks to a law allowing the use of the drug that is coming into effect January 2016. While it may seem obvious that this will benefit people who use marijuana for medical reasons, there are others who are thrilled with the news also: farmers.
The State Health Department will grant only as many as five licenses this year, and those bidding to have one of these will need to prove a solid business plan and the real estate required to produce cannabis crops. Either that, or they need to place a $2 million bond.
Erik Holling used to work as chief operating officer for a tech company and is now trying to get in the race to be one of five registered medical marijuana producers in New York State. For farmers who fear the creep of the suburbs, this is good news. If the land is being used to grow weed, it is not being turned into houses.
So far, Holling has had an enthusiastic welcome from the residents in the area that his company—Valley Agriceuticals—seeks to operate in. This really demonstrates just how much public perception of marijuana has changed in the last couple of years. People outside of the city don’t just no longer stereotype it and fear it, they actually welcome it and understand that it is a great thing for the local economy.
Case to point: Wallkill. This is a community of 30,000 while lies about an hour north of NYC. Wallkill is a town made up of a large percentage of NYC firefighters and police, and people who place a lot of value on pastoral qualities. Possibly not a place that traditionally would have welcomes cannabis?
Well, times have changed, and Wallkill welcomes cannabis. So much so, that the town supervisor, Daniel Depew, has posted “Welcome” signs around town and the new town slogan is, “Where happy babies are born.”
Way to go Wallkill for moving with the times. Depew says that he would have welcomed any type of crop that wanted to use the land, but no others were offered. Real proof of a fellow who understands that there is prosperity where there is green.
Wallkill may also benefit from cannabis tourism, especially as it is making a name for itself so early on in New York’s new journey with weed legalization. The proposal for the pot farm was unanimously endorsed by Wallkill’s town board this April.
It is incredible to see that the public’s responses to news such as this are mostly positive. One reader from Houston commented that cannabis is a life saving medicine. Many agree, and think that it should be legal without the restrictions that it has currently placed on it.
New York doctors will have the ability to prescribe medical cannabis for the treatment of ten conditions which include Parkinson’s Disease, HIV/AIDS, cancer, MS and epilepsy. The rules are still very restrictive and patients must display a certain level of symptoms and have functional limitations before they are allowed to make use of the many benefits that medicinal marijuana has to offer.
The narrow scope of the program has some investors concerned that there is not enough room to actually make money out of growing cannabis for medical supply in New York state.