New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation Dec. 13 to expand the market opportunities for industrial hemp in the state.

Senate Bill 8496, which is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Michelle Hinchey, calls for the Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets to work with the Urban Development Corp., the New York state Hemp Workgroup and industry representatives to develop a plan to create market opportunities for industrial hemp to be used in food, fiber, packaging, construction, cannabinoid content, and more, according to the bill text.

“The market for New York industrial hemp is still developing, and the state needs to take an active role in researching, identifying, and promoting hemp to industries that may incorporate it into their products,” according to the justification section of the bill.

“For example, as the market for sustainable, biodegradable, non-petroleum-based packaging grows, so do the opportunities for New York produced industrial hemp as an ingredient in these products,” the bill read.

Hinchey said in a press release that hemp is the “material of the future,” adding that increasing industrial hemp production in New York can help fight the climate crisis, unlock new revenue opportunities for farmers, and fund rural communities.

“I’m proud that my hemp bill has been signed into law, directing our state to seek strategic collaborations to help us usher in a new era of manufacturing power, product creation, and rural economic development around an industry that is nearly untapped around the world,” Hinchey said.