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Dried remnants of cannabis plants remain in a field at Hudson Cannabis, a cannabis farm in Hudson, New York, on Nov. 2, 2022.

Dried remnants of cannabis plants remain in a field at Hudson Cannabis, a cannabis farm in Hudson, New York, on Nov. 2, 2022.

Photographer: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg
CityLab
Economy

New York Cannabis Farms Have $750 Million of Weed — and Nowhere to Sell It

Growers in upstate New York are figuring out how to keep a glut of weed fresh as the state stalls on retail licenses. 

By almost all metrics, New York’s cannabis market rollout should be in the final innings. The state began handing out growing licenses to more than 200 farms last spring and farmers have since sowed seeds, tended to rows of plants all summer, and just in the last few weeks, finished harvesting. Now, hundreds of thousands of pounds of weed — worth hundreds of millions of dollars — is ready to be sold at dispensaries. 

There’s one hitch: Instead of being shipped to retail stores, the weed is just piling up. Though a rampant gray market is already up and running, not one legal recreational dispensary has yet opened in New York, despite the state regulator’s repeated assurances that cannabis stores would be a fixture by the end of this year.