(WNY News Now) – In an exclusive interview with WNY News Now, New York State Senator George Borrello expressed his support for the Cannabis Crop Rescue Act, emphasizing the urgent need to protect small cannabis growers who have been left in limbo by the state’s regulatory delays.
Albany – New York State Senator George Borrello, known for his reservations regarding cannabis legalization, has become an unexpected champion for cannabis growers as he appeals to Governor Hochul to sign the long-delayed Cannabis Crop Rescue Act. In an exclusive interview with WNY News Now, Senator Borrello underscored his commitment to upholding the state’s promise to support legal cannabis growers, irrespective of his personal stance on marijuana.
The Cannabis Crop Rescue Act, which has been sitting on Governor Hochul’s desk since May, has garnered significant attention as its delay raises concerns within Albany. Senator Borrello, along with 70 of his colleagues, drafted a letter urging the governor to sign the bill. The delay, coupled with the governor’s reluctance, has led many to speculate about the influence of lobbyists opposing the legislation.
The primary objective of the bill is to provide relief to cannabis growers who have meticulously adhered to the regulations set forth by the New York State Office of Cannabis Management. It would allow these growers to produce and sell high-quality, tested cannabis. Notably, New York State had initially committed to creating a legal market for cannabis, leading many to invest their life savings, follow the prescribed process, and obtain permits for legal cultivation.
However, the reality is starkly different from the promise. Despite expectations of 800 licensed dispensaries across New York, only 23 currently exist. The Cannabis Crop Rescue Act, according to Senator Borrello, serves as a temporary solution to the pressing issue. It would enable growers to sell their products to Native American tribes legally selling marijuana on tribal lands.
While Senator Borrello acknowledged that the prices of these legally cultivated cannabis products might be higher than those available at reservations, he emphasized that they come with an assurance of quality and safety. This assurance alleviates concerns about product integrity and safety.
The plight of small farmers and cannabis processors has been a significant concern. Many of them face a dire situation with no legal market to sell their crops while illicit “sticker shops” and other illegal outlets operate with impunity. The senator expressed his strong support for small farmers and the promised legal market, fearing that their economic survival is at risk. The current situation could force smaller growers into bankruptcy, paving the way for large corporations to monopolize the industry.
Senator Borrello recognizes that this issue transcends partisan politics, as lawmakers from various backgrounds have come together to advocate for the well-being of small cannabis businesses and farmers. However, Governor Hochul’s refusal to act has frustrated these efforts.
Senator George Borrello, despite his reservations about cannabis, is unwavering in his support for the Cannabis Crop Rescue Act. He views this legislation as a lifeline for small cannabis growers who have invested in a legal market promised by the state. With the future of these small farmers hanging in the balance, Borrello and his colleagues implore Governor Hochul to sign the bill and uphold the commitment made to New York’s cannabis industry.