High Points Dispensary one step closer to being first dispensary to open in Ontario County

Cannabis Complaints

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – The owner of a local cannabis shop says he was one of the first seven people in the region to receive a license to open a dispensary. However, due to the slow roll-out and setbacks from lawsuits against the state’s cannabis rules, he still can’t open.

“The biggest frustration is the communication with the OCM you can’t call anybody you can only send emails to a general email box,” Daryl Hilkert, Owner and CEO of High Points Dispensary in Geneva said.

He explained while waiting to get the green light to open his business doors, it’s costing him about $10,000 a month in rent since August of 2023.

Daryl received his provisional Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) license back in June of 2023. Businesses awarded this license would be the first to sell pot in the state. However, Daryl says it’s a waiting game and has done everything he had to do to open his shop but is still facing a lot of roadblocks and red tape.

What used to be a bank on Canandaigua Road is now High Points Dispensary.

Hilkert says they sell everything from gummies to weed water to ointments. He explains it’s not about getting high; his business focuses on education and cannabis products that can benefit his customers.

It’s been almost a year since he received his provisional card license to sell cannabis products, however he is still facing many hurdles.

“You have to have a building inspection; you think you are moving forward you have to have a certain cannabis banking; you have to have certain cannabis licensing insurance. The process is never ending it seems you take one step forward and three steps back,” Hilkert said.

In November of 2023, Hilkert was able to open temporarily for seven weeks through the state growers’ program.

“With the growers’ showcase you had to team up with another card holder, a full card holder because when the lawsuits were in place, we could not acquire our final certification,” Hilkert said.

Business was going well during that time but then he had to shut down.

“We had to close on December 31. Our permit expired then,” Hilkert said.

In the meanwhile, it was costing him thousands of dollars out of pocket.

“It was a lot of money. We probably put in about $100,000 to $150,000 alone into the building plus all the lease cost and all that. It’s been a challenge,” Hilkert said.

Monday, we reported that the New York State Office of Cannabis Management’s Chief Equity Officer, Damian Fagon was placed on leave last week. It comes after Governor Hochul called New York’s cannabis market rollout “disastrous” and directed one of her top cabinet members to audit the office of cannabis management over the next 30 days.

“I tell anybody I know who wants to get in the cannabis business turn around and run in the other direction,” Hilkert said.

He still believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel and is hoping to open this week.

“We still don’t have a yes or a no and it’s been this way for months. Everything is a waiting process, he said.

In a response , OCM says the next step for Hilkert would be to receive his final license and pass all compliance checks.

Hilkert said on Monday evening he received his final license and is now waiting for the final OCM compliance approval.

He says he will be the first dispensary to open in Ontario County.

The next round of cannabis licenses will be announced this Friday.