SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y. -- It's farm tour time on Long Island, but one East End tour isn't about pumpkins. It's about pot.
CBS2's Jennifer McLogan joined state cannabis managers from Albany on Tuesday as they visited smaller cultivators preparing for the first harvest of adult-use marijuana.
"I've never used marijuana or cannabis," said Bill Bianchi, a 92-year-old former Suffolk County assemblyman.
Yet, Bianchi is Long Island's newest pot farmer.
"The state of New York now is licensing me to grow it, so I'm excited to do a new crop. I've been doing orchids all my life," Bianchi said.
Bianchi is known for his beautiful orchids, but within 10 days one of his greenhouses will flip to cannabis, where costly upgrades in water, racks, and lighting are ready for his new plants.
"I told my staff that we had a choice last year, either tomatoes or cannabis, and they all voted to do the cannabis," Bianchi said.
Across the East End of Long Island, the state's cannabis control board is touring newly licensed farms.
"This is something that the farmers are excited about. There is a fun, like almost like a pumpkin patch, for example. This is what we're doing, a field trip for state government," said Trivette Knowles of the state Office of Cannabis Management.
McLogan saw drying plants plucked from the wet fields on a bleak day through the North Fork. From seed to seedling to eventual smokable buds, the stage of every pot plant grown in the state will be tracked and recorded.
"They're growing vegetables out here and cannabis," said Damian Fagon, the Office of Cannabis Management's chief equity officer. "Multi-generational New York family farms growing the first legal cannabis crop."
The Office of Cannabis Management says New York farms have been the backbone of the state's economy since before the American Revolution, and now the farms will be at the center of the most equitable cannabis industry in the nation.
"Suddenly, to be thrust into this new industry is very exciting and I think it's going to be good for the people of New York," Bianchi said.
The product grown at these farms will stock the shelves of the first adult-use dispensaries,.
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