New York farmer showcases offer lifeline for growers

Farmer's market sign over cannabis plants

New York cannabis farmers have been showcasing products at events all over the state as of late following the passing of the Cannabis Growers Showcase (CGS) initiative last month. The farmers market-style showcases provide growers with more access to the consumer, many of whom are still opting to shop in the legacy market.

Some New York cannabis advocates noted the potential of extending floor space at the farmer’s market to cannabis growers. Kassia Graham is a New Yorker and digital marketing consultant who specializes in cannabis brand strategy. She recently connected with GreenState about the showcases.

“Cannabis agriculture should be normalized like any other plant we grow for sale in the state. Last year, On The Revel kicked it off with their own showcases that were vital to connecting farmers, brands, and dispensaries,” Graham messaged GreenState, “It’s good to see the state get on board since there are few licensed dispensaries currently open.”

State-approved showcases have been making their way through New York without a hitch. The first showcase to open was in New Paltz; they will continue checking IDs and serving up nugs until December 30th.

The year-round farmers market at Old Saratoga Mercantile recently opened its doors to four cannabis growers and one processor. Batavia, Newark, and nine other localities have followed suit as more cities open their grounds to the cannabis industry.

One of the most notable cannabis showcases in the state runs in tandem with the New York State Fair. Growers will be stationed at a venue a half mile from the fairgrounds. A shuttle will run back and forth to keep attendees flying high.

Things haven’t been cut and dry for operators taking the regulated route in cannabis business. These showcases have thrown a lifeline to operators watching bud stock up while they wait for the Office of Cannabis Management to grant more retail licenses. At the moment, there are few places to sell regulated products which is bolstering the legacy market. Due to an ongoing discrimination lawsuit, access to more retail shops might take even longer than expected.

Though there are some hitches with retail licensing, New York growers can sell products directly to consumers, and that’s not all. With each interaction, they can build brand trust, recognition, and loyalty by working on showcases.

Other states, even ones with established adult-use markets, could benefit from direct-to-consumer cannabis sales. But as for the fledgling industry in New York, more retail licensing action is needed to really give it wings.

“This is a band-aid. People of the state want dispensaries,” Graham concluded.

Cara Wietstock is senior content producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.