Why Legal Cannabis Farmers in New York Struggle?

Marcos Ribeiro, having been granted the legal right to cultivate cannabis by New York state authorities, initially believed he had hit the jackpot. However, as his cannabis plants flourished, he, like many other cannabis cultivators, found himself grappling with the challenge of what to do with the bountiful harvest.

Ribeiro, a farmer cultivating cannabis known as “Blue Dream” in a greenhouse on Long Island, witnessed his plants thriving with lush foliage and vibrant flowers, each yielding up to a kilogram of cannabis flowers.

Investing “several hundred thousand dollars” into his cannabis cultivation over two years, Ribeiro’s aspirations to tap into an official cannabis market estimated to generate billions of dollars faced a setback.

“All the cannabis flowers are mature, but there’s nowhere to sell. It’s very depressing,” he sighed. He is not alone in facing this predicament. New York state boasts over 200 cannabis cultivators, yet there are only 23 licensed shops authorized to sell cannabis. With over 20 million residents in the state, extending into Canada, approximately 1.6 million adults admit to having used such psychoactive substances.

Local cannabis organizations have issued warnings, highlighting the potential financial strain on cannabis cultivators unable to sell their output. Some even predict losses could reach into the millions of dollars.

To address this issue, the state government has plans to issue at least a thousand licenses within “a few months.” Meanwhile, to meet market demand, some unlicensed vendors have started selling cannabis, causing the unmistakable scent of “marijuana” to waft through the air in New York.

Marcos Ribeiro’s strategy is to pivot towards selling products related to cannabis oil, such as the popular edible cannabis gummies.

“We want to provide some relief to our cannabis cultivators,” said John Kagia, Policy Director at the New York Cannabis Management Office.

However, the current market situation does not seem to have alleviated the plight of Marcos Ribeiro and other legal cultivators who are still waiting for viable market avenues. In this uncertain landscape, they can only hope and actively seek avenues for change.