As New York prepares to launch retail marijuana sales, a state senator wants to ensure that cannabis products are sustainably packaged, and she’s introduced legislation to accomplish that by prioritizing hemp-based packaging.
Sen. Michelle Hinchey (D) filed the bill earlier this month, making the case that hemp represents an environmentally friendlier alternative to synthetic plastics. She said setting a standard where the crop is utilized for adult-use marijuana packaging would also support businesses in the burgeoning hemp market.
Under the proposal, the state’s Cannabis Control Board would be required to “develop strategic plans detailing the primary use of industrial hemp for packaging and labeling requirements to be used prior to the retail sale of any cannabis or cannabis product to a cannabis consumer.”
Further, the legislation calls for the establishment of a “Sustainable Cannabis Packaging Incubator Program” to provide financial incentives for businesses to create “compostable and biodegradable cannabis packaging materials.” Participants in the program would need to make packaging that contains at least 30 percent hemp.
“There is no other natural resource that offers the same environmental, agricultural and economic potential as hemp,” Hinchey said in a press release. “My bill will create a market, kickstarting the industry and moving New York State to the forefront in a way that will help us tackle the climate crisis, give our small farmers a competitive edge, and boost upstate economic development.”
“With my bill, 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,” she said. “Environmentally-safe industrialized hemp is the future of manufacturing and I look forward to getting my bill passed in the 2022 session so that New York can lead the way in this emerging market.”
This bill represents the continuation of a family legacy on cannabis reform, as the senator’s late father, former U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), sponsored the early versions of a congressional spending bill rider that protects medical cannabis states from federal interference.
“We are downing in a world of excessive, non-biodegradable packaging, leaving our landfills overflowing and our waterways littered with plastics,” the justification section of the new hemp measure states. “In order to solve our solid waste problem, we have to be creative with new forms of packaging and the materials we use to create it.”
Other states that have moved to legalize cannabis have seen “dramatic increases in waste management issues caused by single-use containers for adult-use and medicinal cannabis, further adding to our ever-growing solid waste crisis,” it continues. “This bill seeks to capitalize on the burgeoning market for hemp, setting New York State as a leader in the new biodegradable and industrial material, while responding to a predictable and foreseeable problem in significantly increased environmentally-harmful waste.”
Environmentally-safe industrialized #hemp is the future of manufacturing, & my bill gives NY the opportunity to kickstart this industry in a way that will help us:</…….