Business owner speaks out after retail cannabis sales injunction solely upheld in Finger Lakes region

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. A U.S. Court of Appeals decision opens the door for all areas in New York to sell legal weed, except for the Finger Lakes.

The injunction was originally brought after a Michigan-based business sued for being denied a license to operate a dispensary in the state. The owner’s number one choice to locate was in the Finger Lakes region. News10NBC spoke to the owner of Flower City Dispensary who applied for a license for reaction to this new ruling.

The block came after a lawsuit claims New York state’s process of issuing retail marijuana licenses is discriminatory against applicants who live out of state. The owner of Flower City Dispensary has been waiting patiently and then the lawsuit delayed the licensing process.

Flower City Dispensary co-owner Britni Tantalo says she is not pleased to hear this news. The New York State Office of Cannabis Management awarded the first group of licenses for retail dispensaries to New Yorkers with past marijuana convictions. Britni meets this criteria.

“I applied with my husband,” Britni said. “We both carry cannabis convictions. So we personally have been charged. We have two years of profitable business experience and we applied and went forward as we met all qualifications”

The lawsuit was filed after a company in Michigan sued claiming the state’s process discriminates against giving licenses to people out of state who want to sell in New York.

Tuesday’s decision by the second circuit court of appeals means every region, including central and western New York, the Mid-Hudson region and Brooklyn, will now be able to sell cannabis once licenses are issued, but not in our region.

“They lifted the injunction for four regions as co-founder of the New York State Flower Coalition,” Britni said. “That’s huge for our state. There’s so many deserving people that have been on pause alongside us so we celebrate that.”

Tantalo explains deserving people like her are now still stuck in the middle of this lawsuit and trying to remain hopeful things will work out.

“It’s disheartening,” Britni said. “It’s very frustrating. We’ve been waiting just as long. We’re prepared to go. There’s a lot of people in our community who are ready to go to work.”

State Senator Jeremy Cooney released the following statement:

“The Rochester and Greater Finger Lakes Region was negatively impacted by the failed war on drugs. Its residents, especially members of the Black and Brown community, deserve the opportunity to participate in the social equity programs included within the MRTA legalization.

While we celebrate the decision of the Second Circuit to lift the injunction for Western New York, Hudson Valley, and Brooklyn, we remain hopeful the Finger Lakes Region will soon be permitted to participate in this economic empowerment program administered by the NYS Office of Cannabis Management.

Importantly, New York will not reach its goals for an equitable and thriving adult-use cannabis marketplace until all regions are open for business.”

News10NBC reached out to the state Office of Cannabis Management about how soon licenses will be issued in those regions but hasn’t heard back yet.

More about local people seeking to open dispensaries:

See our series “Cannabis Countdown” about what NYS can expect as dispensaries open: