Watch CBS News

Office of Cannabis Management floats idea of selling product at farmer's markets in New York

Cannabis coming soon to a famer's market near you?
Cannabis coming soon to a famer's market near you? 02:14

NEW YORK -- Regulations have made it difficult to sell cannabis in New York -- so much so that farmers have been left with hundreds of thousands of pounds of unsold product.

But a budding idea to bring marijuana to farmer's markets is gaining traction.

At your local market this summer, next to the fresh baked goods and organic vegetables, you might also find cannabis.

Concerts and festivals could start carrying it, too.

"I have very mixed feeling about selling grass," said Jean Standish of the East Village.

"I don't think it's that much different from selling fruits and vegetables," added Hassina Sadara of the East Village.

READ MORENew York City putting pressure on landlords to police illegal smoke shops

Controversial as the idea may be, growers across New York say it's necessary for their survival. The state's slow opening of licensed recreational dispensaries has meant a lack of buyers for farmers.

Statewide, millions of dollars of product remain unsold, including 1,200 pounds of flower grown by Joann Kudrewicz.

"All of what we were planning to sell is sitting in inventory. We have not had an outlet. We are not on the shelves anywhere," Kudrewicz said.

READ MORERecord number of U.S. workers test positive for cannabis, study shows

The state Office of Cannabis Management floated the farmer's market solution to growers at a virtual meeting last week. Rules are still being drafted, but cultivators would have to partner with a licensed retailer.

The program could start within the month.

"We are already seeing very strong tourism numbers for New York this year. What a great opportunity to showcase this budding industry to tourists and New Yorkers in the places they are going to be," said John Kagia of the Office of Cannabis Management.

READ MOREAlbany dispensary is first in state to start delivering recreational marijuana to Long Island

However, legal experts say execution is not as easy as it seems. Many municipalities do not welcome cannabis retail stores.

"Logistically, there are some very obvious challenges. Security, first and foremost. Space. Not a lot of landlords, not a lot of open spaces are willing to accommodate this first-of-its-kind opportunity," cannabis lawyer Lauren Rudick said.

The Office of Cannabis Management says momentum is building for more retail demand as well. Twelve dispensaries are currently operational and another dozen are in the final stages of opening.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.