Businesses celebrate moves made at Cannabis Control Board’s first meeting

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester area businesses hoping to cash in on legal marijuana are celebrating the latest moves by the state’s cannabis regulators.

On Tuesday, the state’s new Cannabis Control Board met for the first time and gave its approval to the distribution of “whole flower” cannabis from medical marijuana dispensaries and entrepreneurs hoped for quick movement so they can start business.

Christine Stio of Irondequoit said her website is in the works and she’s ready to get her marijuana delivery business, Buzzadoos, up and running now that the state’s new Cannabis Control Board is moving ahead with establishing the ground rules for an industry projected to create as many as 60,000 jobs.

"The opportunities are going to be endless,” Stio said. “Of course it’s going to be very competitive but it’s not just going to be for people who want a license. So there will be a lot of ancillary work to be done behind the scenes.”

The board came together, unveiled its selections for top positions, and announced the most familiar form of cannabis, "whole flower," the marijuana buds which have illegally gone in joints and pipes for decades, is immediately approved for use from medical dispensaries.

“Every grower in the state just probably jumped for joy because this is the biggest concern for current hemp growers and former help growers at all want to get into,” said Brian Lane with Rochester cannabis company NOWAVE. "It gives a lot more people the opportunity to make money in this industry within the state.”

At the NOWAVE factory in Rochester, entrepreneurs like Lane are standing by to go from turning out products like gummies with CBD, which doesn’t get you high, to THC, which does.

The company’s planning a big new factory and as many as 25 new jobs once recreational cannabis becomes fully legal. But once it does, Lane said making the switch can be as simple as throwing a switch.

"Within about a week to two weeks,” Lane said. “We will have products out to market, that quickly. Our equipment is very easy to turn over and we have put everything in place to be a successful processor when THC becomes live."

The board also announced the hiring of 21 people for its staff, speeding up the process of regulating and eventually licensing cannabis, a process Long said had been lagging under previous governor Andrew Cuomo.

Soon, he says, pot products can start coming from a state-of-the-art factory like his.

“Right now, a lot of times, maybe you’re getting it from your aunts, or uncles, people who made it in their home kitchens,” he explained. “Now, you know they will be fully tested, products where you know exactly what you’re getting.“

With the board starting its work, Long said aspiring producers hoped the regulations would be completed and licenses ready in time for growers to plant a crop of plants in the spring.