Rochester business receives license to open cannabis dispensary despite ongoing lawsuit

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A Rochester business has received a license to open a cannabis dispensary despite a lawsuit that prevents the New York State from issuing licenses in the Finger Lakes region. The state’s Cannabis Control Board issued the license on Monday for Flower City Shop LLC.

The lawsuit claims New York is discriminating against out-of-state businesses by prioritizing dispensary licenses for people who have marijuana convictions within New York. It was filed by a Michigan company.

Last week, a judge ruled against the lawsuit and allowed all regions in the state to open dispensaries except the Finger Lakes. The state’s map shows that Monroe, Orleans, Wayne, Livingston, Genesee, Wyoming, Ontario, Yates, and Seneca counties all fall under the Finger Lakes.

Flower City Shop LLC got around that ruling by filing under the Western New York region, where dispensaries are allowed. The map shows that Western New York encompasses the Buffalo region but not Rochester.

Flower City Shop LLC is owned by two Rochester residents. It received one of the 99 licenses to open dispensaries that the state approved on Monday.

The state legalized the recreational use of cannabis in March 2021 and issued the first round of licenses to open dispensaries in November. 

To apply for a license, applicants must show they’ve run a profitable business and that they, or a family member, has gotten a marijuana conviction before it was legalized. The state’s Office of Cannabis Management is prioritizing people with marijuana convictions to help communities that have been unequally impacted by its criminalization.

More about local people seeking to open dispensaries:

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