• NY HempLab

Hemp Is Legal!

The cannabis industry is moving so fast that it’s easy to miss major news. And there is some major news to be aware of: Hemp. Is. Legal.

When we say legal, we mean federally legal. On December 20, 2018, the 2018 United States Farm Bill became law. Part of this bill removed hemp (defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC) as a Schedule I controlled substance and made it an agricultural commodity, just like corn or wheat.

What is the Hemp Industry?

It may sound too good to be true, but the federal legalization of hemp has opened the doors for a tremendous number of potential uses, currently estimated to be over 25,000. As it currently stands, the hemp industry can be broken down into three major categories:

  1. Fiber (including textiles, paper, and building materials)

  2. Grain (food, oil, personal hygiene products)

  3. Resin (CBD and/or CBG dominant products for medical, wellness and recreational purposes; including tincture, topicals, smokable flower, vape cartridges, and edibles.)

We hope this gives you a sense of how unbelievably versatile the hemp plant really is. It truly has the potential to be as ubiquitous as plastic or high fructose corn syrup, but without the environmental and health repercussions!

Gold and Pickaxes

Consider this common saying in the startup world: “you can mine for gold or you can sell pickaxes.” This is meant to convey that an industry boom doesn’t just benefit the people directly involved; it also benefits ancillary businesses that suddenly have new growth opportunities servicing all the new gold miners that have shown up.

You can mine for gold or you can sell pickaxes.

Therefore, businesses can benefit from the hemp boom without ever growing or even touching the plant itself. With this in mind, how can you leverage your business to cash in on the rise of the hemp industry?

New York State is Uniquely Positioned

Hemp legalization is great news for all of the United States, but we are especially excited because New York state is well-positioned to be a leader in the hemp industry for several reasons outlined below.

Hemp Grows Well Here

For starters, hemp varieties grow well here — especially fiber and resin ones. New York state already grows a variety of commodities, including soy, corn, wheat, beans, and barley. It’s time for hemp to be added to that list.

Infrastructure Already exists

Speaking of commodities that grow in New York state, guess what else is here? Grain processing infrastructure. We believe this infrastructure can be readily adapted to process hemp grain varieties as well. In addition, the facilities needed to clean and package grain also already exist in New York state. Given the fact that much of the hemp seed and protein market is imported Canadian grain, we see a huge opportunity for NY farmers to leverageand leveraging existing infrastructure.

Agricultural Research Happens Here

Between the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Cornell University, New York state has a powerhouse trio of academic institutions capable of providing the agricultural and technological research needed to keep the hemp industry booming. Other schools such as SUNY Morrisville are also paving the way for industrial hemp research, positioning NY state as an educational leader for industrial hemp as well.

Craft Food and Beverages Are Booming

Surely by now, you’ve noticed that upstate New York has an abundant and thriving craft food and beverage market, including wine, beer, cheese, and distilleries. This also includes the many farm-to-table restaurants (and partnering farms) that continue to sprout up throughout upstate New York. Given these trends, we have every reason to believe that craft hemp businesses will also thrive with the development of this emerging market.

Location, Location, Location . . . And Timing is Everything

Simply put, New York state is in the right place at the right time. The state’s eastern seaboard proximity, combined with the massive population (market) concentration of New York City, makes it highly likely to lead the booming hemp industry.


In the 2019 growing season, New York state saw a 143% increase in the hemp industry participation. In 2020 there are now over 500 total license holders. We believe this is just the beginning as many people still don’t even realize that hemp is federally legal!

$4.1 Billion

The New York State Department of Health estimated the New York cannabis market size to be a $1.7 billion industry. According to the Rockefeller Institute of Government (a SUNY research organization) a market of this size “could generate a total economic output of $4.1 billion and total employment of 30,700.” This could contribute to a major economic revitalization in New York state.

". . . a total economic output of $4.1 billion and total employment of 30,700.”

HempLab Can Help

If this sounds exciting to you, you are not alone! HempLab has a plan to ensure that New York state leads the hemp boom in the United States: 1. Educate about the workings of the cannabis industry ecosystem, from seed to sale. 2. Incubate businesses and individuals looking to find their niche in this emerging industry.

3. Accelerate the industry as a whole, with an emphasis on upstate New York, by creating opportunities for businesses to get the support they need to get established, grow, and scale.

Practically, we specialize in educational events and professional services, including:

  • Public Events

  • In-depth Digital Webinars

  • Onsite Field Trips

  • Office hours with Industry Experts

  • Professional Consulting Services

Talk To Us

We would love to hear from you at or using the form below in response to any of these questions:

  • Have you witnessed hemp industry growth in New York state? If so, where?

  • Do you have a hemp cultivation license? If not, did you recently apply?

  • How would you like to get involved with New York HempLab?

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New York is uniquely positioned to develop a successful hemp economy. 

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HempLab Inc.

620 Park Ave, Suite 106

Rochester, NY 14607

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