ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — The New York State Assembly has passed legislation that would allow currently licensed hemp growers to apply to grow marijuana.

Under the legislation, licensed hemp growers could gain temporary conditional licenses for the cultivation and processing of adult use marijuana.

Eligible applicants would need to have possessed a valid industrial hemp grower authorization from the Department of Agriculture and Markets as of December 31, 2021. They would also have to be in good standing, and have grown and harvested hemp for at least two of the last four years.

These temporary conditions allow those with an adult use cultivator license to grow cannabis outdoors or in a greenhouse with up to 20 artificial lights. Those with the license would also be permitted to manufacture and distribute cannabis products.

The bill was passed by the New York State Senate on Tuesday, and by the Assembly Wednesday. It has yet to be signed by the governor.

The bill would require that both cultivator and processor licensees participate in a social equity mentorship program as well as an environmental sustainability program, which would help future cultivators and processors who are interested in gaining experience and knowledge from those with industry experience.

“These temporary licenses are the next step in getting our state’s market up and running,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said in a statement issued Wednesday. “Allowing already licensed hemp growers to obtain temporary conditional licenses will not only get New York on track, but it will require they help others – especially MWBEs and others who are frequently left behind in this industry – get a foot in the door and be successful.”

“With the passage of this bill, we have the opportunity to create a responsible start to the adult-use cannabis industry by authorizing temporary conditional cultivator and processor licenses to current New York hemp farmers. This authority will help secure enough safe, regulated, and environmentally conscious cannabis products to meet the demand of the adult-use cannabis market when retail dispensaries open.” said Majority leader Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes.

On June 1, 2023, both conditional cultivators and processors would be required to apply for a distributor license. Both licenses would end on June 30, 2024.