A New York lawmaker has introduced a bill designed to increase demand for hemp-based packaging biocomposites while helping the state meet its climate mitigation goals.
State Sen. Michelle Hinchey said in a press release that the measure would advance hemp growing for biodegradable packaging for state-produced cannabis products, and kickstart a New York hemp industry that prioritizes sustainability and delivers business opportunities for small farmers while spurring economic development in upstate rural areas.
The bill would direct the state’s Cannabis Control Board (CCB) to develop a plan that will establish hemp-based materials as the primary packaging solution for all cannabis products made in the state.
The bill would also direct the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) and Empire State Development (ESD), an economic development agency, to create a Sustainable Cannabis Packaging Incubator Program that would offer financial incentives to farmers and cannabis entrepreneurs who contribute to the development and use of hemp-based packaging materials.
“There is no other natural resource that offers the same environmental, agricultural, and economic potential as hemp,” Hinchey said. “We have an incredible opportunity to unleash the potential of biodegradable hemp-based products that slashes our use of plastics, incentivizes farmers and entrepreneurs to be part of this innovation stage, and propels an industry that has not reached even a fraction of its full potential.”
With New York farms struggling to remain profitable in a global marketplace, many are looking to diversify what they grow and produce, according to Hinchey, who said getting the bill passed is among her top priorities for the 2022 legislative session.