New York State Senator Metzger joined Supervisor Mike Sweeton, farmer Mark Rogowski, Orange County IDA CEO Laurie Villasuso, and hemp industry leaders recently at a press conference outside of Kaycha Labs in Warwick to announce major new initiatives to advance Orange County’s hemp industry.
Metzger, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced the release of draft hemp regulations from the NYS Department of Health as required by her legislation (S6184A) passed last year. The draft regulations allow for CBD-infused beverages and food, and if finalized, would greatly expand opportunities for developing a wider range of CBD products in New York State.
At the press conference, Senator Metzger also announced $250,000 in state funding to the Town of Warwick to purchase equipment for rent by local farmers diversifying into hemp production. Industry leaders praised the work done by Senator Metzger to advance the hemp industry and new opportunities for New York farmers during the event.
The 2018 Farm Bill removed cannabidiol, known as CBD, from the Controlled Substances Act, creating new opportunities for New York farmers and businesses. The state law developed by Metzger and her counterpart in the Assembly, Agriculture Chair Donna Lupardo, establishes the necessary regulatory framework for growing hemp for CBD and processing, manufacturing, and selling CBD products in New York, creating the certainty the industry needs to invest and the standards consumers need for a safe and high-quality product.
The draft regulations based on the legislation and released by the NYS Department of Health allow for CBD-infused beverages and foods. At the press conference, Urban Extracts, Rogowski Farms, and Hillview Med announced a new partnership in which locally grown and processed hemp extract will be sourced for a CBD-infused seltzer, Kaló, distributed by Pepsi.
“Now we have the rules of the game, and now we know what we’re shooting for,” said Urban Extracts CEO Eran Sherin, while discussing the opportunities associated with the local manufacturing of hemp, allowing for scale and creating Orange County jobs.
Senator Metzger also announced a $250,000 state grant she secured for the Town of Warwick to purchase hemp trimming and testing equipment to rent to farmers, reducing the costs to local farms of diversifying into this high-value commodity. The equipment will be housed at the Orange County Industrial Development Agency Accelerator, which CEO Laurie Villasuso announced will occupy one of the historic buildings at the Warwick Tech Park to provide manufacturing and office space for CBD-related small businesses that participate in the IDA’s Accelerator program.
Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton said, “Our hemp initiative had stalled since the regulations were under review which forced companies to put their plans for investment on hold. I reached out to Senator Metzger for help and she delivered by working to get NYS to issue these regulations. This will now jump start our effort to redevelop the former prison and create jobs here in Warwick.”
Senator Metzger presented $250,000 in state funding to the Town of Warwick to purchase hemp trimming & testing equipment to rent to farmers. Shown (from left) are: Assemblyman Karl Brabenec, Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, Senator Jen Metzger, & Orange County IDA CEO Laurie Villasuso.