Experts: Breakthrough coming for businesses hoping to cash in on legalized marijuana in NY

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GATES, N.Y. (WHEC) — Businesses hoping to cash in on legalized marijuana in New York now say they see a breakthrough coming.

They say Governor Hochul’s administration has opened important doors in just the past week. Some of them got together on Saturday to plan out how to join what they think will be an enormous market within a year.

When NOWAVE of Rochester opened up its factory for this tour, it was showing off a state-of-the-art facility for turning cannabis plants, marijuana, into products with cannabidiol, CBD, the chemical from the hemp plant that does not get you high.

Some of them are in a rainbow of colors.

But the company, and its visitors which include aspiring growers and retail stores, are trying to build for a future they now see as just a few months away.

Robert Anderson is CEO of NOWAVE.

Anderson said, ," It’s legal weed. So it’s important if people are, obviously, for it, to make sure you spread the word and get everybody prepared for it because it is coming."

For years, New York cannabis growers have focused on producing hemp and CBD, which is marketed as helpful against inflammation and seizures, and for relaxation, while they wait for the legalization of recreational marijuana.

But that process took a dramatic step forward this week when Governor Hochul appointed Former Assemblywoman Tremaine Wright to lead the state’s Cannabis Control Board and Christopher Alexander to direct the state’s Office of Cannabis Management.

NOWAVE, which already sells a variety of CBD merchandise under the brand name "Bad Days," says it’s ready to start selling marijuana products too, containing THC, the part of pot that does provide the buzz.

The company’s planning a big new factory and as many as 25 new jobs once recreational cannabis becomes fully legal.

" It’s just a flip of a switch before we are ready to make a change," added Anderson.

Brian Lane is a CBD maker at NOWAVE.

Lane said, "We look to grow the minute the THC licensing comes out and we get accepted. We know we may have to almost double our workforce when that happens."

NOWAVE and the New York Cannabis Growers & Processors Association say the governor has speeded up what will be a complex process of drawing up regulations for pot sales in the state, so it’s important for the sales and supply networks as well as permits and licensing to get up and running.

Dan Livingston is with New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association.

" The product isn’t magically going to land on the store shelves. They have to connect all the dots themselves," said Livingston.

They say there are up against states like Colorado and California which have a head start in legalizing marijuana, but they can also take lessons from those states too.

Livingston added, "We’ve been able to learn from the mistakes and the successes by the states. So New York State is moving a little more slowly than I think a lot of us would like. But, at the same time, I think they’re very deliberative in the process."

Some estimates say legalized marijuana could mean $3.5 Billion and 60,000 jobs in New York, and these entrepreneurs are now watching the calendar for a monumental green light.

And that green light could be just months away.

"We expect licensing will come out February, March. We hope it will be in place so farmers can start to put their seeds in the ground, so they can start producing for fall harvest. which is the most important part of this," said CBD Maker Lane.

The entrepreneurs are grateful for some important protections in the law. Marijuana sold in the state will have to come from within the state.