In his only mention of the Southern Tier in his State of the State tour of New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo says he wants to promote industrial hemp production in the area.

The Associated Press reports the governor, in one of his State of the State addresses January 11 proposed expanding a pilot program that allows farmers to grow hemp in conjunction with state agricultural officials. Cuomo also said he would hold an Industrial Hemp Summit in the Southern Tier to bring together researchers, farmers, manufacturers and government officials.

Hemp stalks and seeds can be used in the production of clothes, building materials, fuel and paper.

Industrial hemp contains less than 1 percent THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana.

In a news release from Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo of Endwell, she says she is “thrilled” with the initiative.  The Democrat says it is exactly what she has been working for and could mean a lot of revenue for the region.

Lupardo says she hopes the measure can pass before the start of the growing season.

Meanwhile, Reclaim New York put out a news release titled “Hemp Farming? What’s the Governor Smoking?” 

The group criticized the governor for offering the hemp farming proposal as the only specific solution to the Southern Tier’s struggling economy.