New York is paving the way for hemp farmers to get a head start on growing marijuana for legal sales that are expected to begin next year.

Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation Tuesday, February 22 that lets hemp growers apply for two-year licenses to grow for the forthcoming legal recreational pot market. Licensees can start planting this spring.

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Hochul says the measure will jump-start “the safe, equitable and inclusive" marijuana industry the state is building.

It’s been nearly a year since New York legalized recreational use of marijuana for adults, but officials are still working on regulations for growing and selling cannabis legally.

 If growers had to wait until regulators finalized the rules and taxation details, it would be too late to plant crops for the upcoming growing season.

New York is expected to reap millions of dollars in revenue once sales are legal and regulated for adults seeking to use marijuana in applications outside of medicinal purposes.

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