Officials in New York have issued 52 licences to allow hemp farmers to begin cultivating cannabis for recreational purposes, a year after state politicians voted to legalise its use.

According to guidance, licensees may cultivate up to one acre of flowering crops outdoors or 25,000 square feet of flowering crops in a greenhouse, using up to 20 artificial lights.

Looking ahead: New York State’s recreational industry is set to take off after 52 licences were issued to help farmers

Under the Conditional Cannabis Cultivation Bill they are entitled to cultivate and process recreational cannabis until June 2023.

The licenses were awarded to hemp farmers who have grown and harvested hemp for at least two of the past four years.

More than 150 hemp businesses have submitted applications to the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) following the March 15 opening of the online application portal.

In March 2021, the Senate voted 40-23 to pass legislation to legalise recreational use, followed by the Assembly, which voted 100-49 in favour.

Steve has reported for a number of consumer and B2B titles over a journalism career spanning more than three decades. He is a regulator contributor to health journal, The Medical Republic, writing on...