At least a dozen cannabis farmers markets – formally known as “grower’s showcases” – have been put on the calendar by marijuana businesses in New York for this summer and fall.
The most recently announced showcase opened for business at 10 a.m. today about a half-mile down the road from the New York State Fair at the FlynnStoned Cannabis ranch and features nine of New York’s 278 licensed cannabis farmers, who will be allowed to sell direct to consumers each day until 9 p.m. The showcase will run until the fair closes on Sept. 4.
Farmer Joann Kudrewicz said it’s a “very exciting opportunity” for growers like her.
The state’s Office of Cannabis Management estimated in a recent court filing that farmers have about 582,000 pounds of cannabis flower and other products ready to be sold, with only 23 shops operational. Roughly 600,000 pounds were harvested between the inception of the adult-use marijuana program and October this year, the OCM estimated, and about 18,000 pounds of that has been sold thus far.
“Assuming the same rate of sale until the end of the year … the remaining amount that will not be sold is approximately 564,000 pounds, or about 96% of all currently unsold product,” OCM First Deputy Director Patrick Mckeage said in an affidavit filed Aug. 9.
But now, there are several daily or weekly recurring cannabis farmers markets up and running in New York, according to the OCM, to help growers sell off as much of that backlog as possible.
That includes showcases in:
New Paltz, Aug. 10-Dec. 30, weekly on Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Copake, Aug. 17-Dec. 30, weekly on Thursdays and Fridays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m.
New Hampton, Aug. 22-Dec. 31, daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. except for 10 blackout dates.
Schuylerville, Aug. 23-Dec. 30, every day except Sunday from noon to 8 p.m.
Syracuse (the state fair showcase), Aug. 23-Sept. 4, daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Rensselaer, Aug. 24-Sept. 28, weekly on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Granville, Aug. 24-Dec. 30, weekly on Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 8 p.m.
Batavia, Aug. 24-Dec. 31, weekly every Tuesday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Hoosick Falls, Aug. 26, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Rochester, Aug. 26-Dec. 31, weekly every Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Newark, Aug. 29-Dec. 31, Tuesdays through Sundays each week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saratoga Springs, Sept. 3-Dec. 31, weekly on Sundays and Tuesdays from noon to 7 p.m.
Kudrewicz, who chairs the cultivation committee for the trade group Cannabis Association of New York and is also founder of Ravens View Genetics, said she’s optimistic that the showcases will help farmers sell through their existing inventory last year.
“There’s 40,000-80,000 people a day that go through the state fair. A part of what we need to be doing now is just getting the word out, so people know we’re here. I believe folks will follow,” Kudrewicz said. “The people who have shown up so far are just so excited.”
Kudrewicz said the feedback from growers on other such farmers markets to date has been mixed, but she credited regulators and Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office for helping get the events off the ground.
“Some of these events were thrown together very quickly. So there wasn’t enough necessary PR, in terms of getting people there. It’s been a trial-and-error kind of a thing from the get-go,” Kudrewicz said, adding that she doesn’t have a tally yet of how many of the 278 farmers have been able to make use of farmers markets.
Kudrewicz said that the biggest hurdle thus far has been convincing municipalities to sign off on cannabis farmers markets, but that the high-profile nature of the state fair event will hopefully convince more to opt in.
“It’s always a successful story when a cultivator has the chance to be in front of the consumer, because … typically we are not,” she said. “It gives us an opportunity to share who we are, how we grow, what we do and what our product is without the budtenders in the middle.”
Most of the growers at the state fair market, Kudrewicz said, do not yet have a presence on shelves at the 23 licensed retailers that have opened for business thus far. And many farmers also didn’t even yet fully prep for farmers markets because they were skeptical that it would prove worth the money and time, she said.
“There are quite a number of us who haven’t gotten products packaged, labeled, tested. To expend the amount of money we need to be ready to be at these events is huge, and so there are a lot of cultivators who haven’t gone down that road, because they wanted to wait and see if they would have an outlet for their product,” Kudrewicz said.
“There are many cultivators who are scrambling now to find the money to get their product ready,” she said. “Knowing this is an option has been an impetus for people to kind of get it to the final stage.”
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