And it's about time.

Hemp's home: NY says it's the Southern Tier

It is "ideal for hemp farming we want the Southern Tier to lead the way" Cuomo said Wednesday in Syracuse, where he proposed relaxing a rule that caps participants in the state's experimental hemp program at 10.

So far, New York has seen just one harvest, from one farm, in Madison County. But a crop in the first year for legal cultivation of the formerly banned plant is proof of concept, officials say, and if it worked there, it will work even better here.

"People had to see a crop. You stand in the field with farmers and you realize you're witnessing history, the first crop grown in this state in, forever," said Patrick Hooker, deputy secretary for food and agriculture in Cuomo's administration. "Now we know we can grow it. It's been successfully grown, combined, processed and sold."

New York first launched a pilot program to research hemp in 2014, and last year it was expanded to allow the hemp to be sold.

Both efforts were championed by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Endwell, and state Sen. Tom O'Mara, R-Elmira, who sponsored the legislation in their houses.

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