The way consumers source marijuana is changing. Once upon a time, if you wanted marijuana, you would have to place an order at an online or in-person dispensary. Now Farmers markets are becoming a popular choice for cannabis purchases. If fact, New York has begun accepting applications for cannabis farmers markets.

About Cannabis Famers Markets in New York

New York regulators have officially begun accepting applications from cannabis businesses looking to organize cannabis farmers markets in the state. They have posted templated guidelines for those seeking municipal approval.

This development comes two days after the Cannabis Control Board voted to authorize “Cannabis Growers Showcases (CGS)”, another term for the markets.

“A CGS can take place in various locations, including standalone, temporary retail locations; licensed retail dispensary locations; licensed conditional cultivator or processor locations; or other approved event locations,” states the Office of Cannabis Management.

Guidelines Regarding NY Cannabis Farmers Markets

Applications for NY cannabis farmers markets are being accepted through December 1, 2023.

Approval will be contingent on the applicant having at least three adult-use cannabis cultivators and one conditional retail licensee employee. If they wish to register three additional cultivators, they must have another provisional vendor at the event.

Farmers who are approved can host cannabis farmers markets on their property, or they can join other events.

How the Cannabis Farmers Markets Events Will Be Organized

On-site consumption will not be permitted at cannabis farmers markets because that would require additional permitting. Organizers will also have to make sure alcohol is not sold at the events.

The OCM released templates of approval levels for municipalities and associated events along with the applications. They also provided inventory lists, attestation letters for CGS licensees, and sample diagrams that show how the events should be laid out.

A document with frequently asked questions is also included. It addresses issues regarding the types of products that can be sold, and packaging, testing, inventory tracking, taxes, and age verification requirements.

Other New York Cannabis Sales News

While New York focuses on cannabis farmers markets, it is also looking for other ways to ramp up its sales. The state board approved 212 provisional retailer licenses this week making for the largest single batch of approvals to date. The state now has 463 licensees that will be serving the adult market. Shops are expected to open in six months to a year.

Despite the growing sales market, there are only 20 adult-use retailers operating in the state. Many say that the delay in the rollout is due to issues with financing and a lack of equity retailers.

The state also separately announced that it is seeking lenders to support a marijuana equity fund that aims to help people who have been disproportionately affected by criminalization to participate in the industry.

What are the Advantages of Cannabis Farmers Markets?

Cannabis farmers markets are becoming more popular thanks to the various benefits they offer retailers and customers. These include:

Good Way for Small Businesses to Get Their Name Out: Small business growers may not be able to afford a storefront. Cannabis farmers markets allow them to connect with customers and get their name out there. It also enables them to test out their products so they can improve them as needed.

More Accessibility: Cannabis farmers markets often features specialty items that customers may not be able to access from traditional dispensaries. They also provide another outlet for cannabis sales. They make products more accessible in general.

Nice Environment: Farmers markets often take place in relaxed, community-oriented, outdoor environments that are pleasant for sellers and consumers.

Fosters Collaboration: The sense of community fosters collaboration among sellers which contributes to the growth of businesses and the industry overall.

Offers Educational Experiences: Farmers markets often host educational events and workshops that allow them to share information with customers. People can learn about various cultures, strains, and consumption techniques. They will discover more about the industry and the products and they will make more informed purchasing decisions.

Less Harm to the Environment: Since the products are locally sourced, they do not require shipping. Direct delivery reduces energy and fuel costs and minimizes damage to the environment.

Cannabis Farmers Markets in California

California is another state that is looking at the possibility of legalizing cannabis farmers markets. In April of 2022, legislation that enables consumers to buy cannabis directly from cultivators was approved by the state Assembly Committee on Business and Profession.

However, the legislation still needs to clear the Assembly Appropriations Committee and full Assembly Chamber and go through Senate before it makes it to the Governor’s desk.

Farmers in the state support the bill. As of now, the convoluted state system requires them to sell produce to a licensed retailer to make a profit. They are unable to sell directly to consumers.

If the bill passed, it would allow them to collect the fees they normally pay to middlemen and dispensaries. Even though it limits farmers to sell at only eight famers markets a year, it would still help profits.

It also has the potential to benefit cannabis tourism in the state. With more legislation, visitors would be able to go to a pot farm and sample different varieties of marijuana, similar to a wine-tasting experience.

Dispensary owners are the main opponents of the bill. They feel cannabis farmers markets will bring too much competition to the industry.

Assemblyman Phillip Chen, R-Brea spoke out saying, “As I represent Orange County, there will be an oversaturation of these retailers in my community”.

Bill sponsor, Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Santa Rosa shot back stating the bill was about, “giving the little guy a chance”.

“We are talking about eight events. We’re not talking about everyone getting a separate license,” he said.

He also stated that cannabis farmers markets would promote the industry benefiting all players.