New York Cannabis Control Board (CCB) members approved their third batch of conditional adult-use cannabis cultivation licenses for the 2022 growing season during their regular meeting May 19.

Giving the thumbs up to 58 existing hemp farmers on Thursday, CCB members have now OK’d 146 licensees total: The five board members originally approved licenses for 52 hemp farmers during their April 14 meeting, and another 36 during their May 5 meeting.

The board resolutions for the issuance of those conditional licenses come after Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation Feb. 22 to allow hemp businesses to grow cannabis to help jumpstart the adult-use market and ensure there’s adequate supply when commercial sales possibly launch later this year.

Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) Director Chris Alexander, who has spearheaded the license application vetting process, recommended the approval of the 146 licenses that CCB members have voted on so far.

“We’ve received more than 200 applications from New York’s hemp farmers and are excited to continue to advance the Seeding Opportunity Initiative,” he said during the May 19 meeting.

“We’re moving quickly knowing that the growing season is short and wanting for our farmers to take full advantage of that season,” Alexander said. “With the applications hopefully approved today, we’ll have 146 small farmers operating throughout the state of New York as conditional cultivators in the Seeding Opportunity Initiative.”

First announced on March 10, the OCM’s Seeding Opportunity Initiative will position individuals with prior cannabis-related criminal offenses to make the first adult-use cannabis sales with products grown by New York farmers. The farm-to-store initiative aims to make the launch of commercial adult-use cannabis sales possible before the end of 2022.

Five days after that announcement, OCM opened the adult-use conditional cultivator application window. The licensing application program will remain open until June 30, 2022.

OCM officials are reviewing applications on an ongoing basis and will be making subsequent recommendations for licensure under the Controlled Cultivator program.