Rochester’s first approved cannabis growers’ showcase opens amid slow rollout of NY cannabis market

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester’s first approved cannabis farmers’ showcase finally opened its doors Thursday for the sale of adult-use marijuana products.

This showcase now allows cannabis growers and other entrepreneurs from Erie County to sell their products, which were put on hold more than a year ago.

“As of right now we’re approved to run until December 31,” said Herbal IQ’s Sidney Barrett.

After years of waiting and recent months of legal wrangling you can now buy legal, tested, and regulated cannabis products in Rochester. Depew-based Herbal IQ opened its second temporary location at 1749 East Ave., in the plaza across the street from Wegmans. The first one opened its doors this week in Newark, Wayne County. Herbal IQ staff members are happy to serve an eager public.

“There’s been a lot of stuff going on in the state, legal side of things, and compliance — and we’re just working to get all that fixed, and as of right now we’re trying to fill that void and get that product,” said Barrett.

New York has been very slow in its rollout of a legal cannabis market, especially in the Finger Lakes region. The handing out of new licenses to open and operate legal dispensaries has been halted due to a lawsuit filed by a group of military veterans. News10NBC asked New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie if there’s anything from the legislative standpoint he’s considering to help move along the process of issuing licenses.

“I think we should probably, in my opinion, wait until the court cases are resolved because it wouldn’t make sense to do something legislatively and then the courts still have a problem. So, I think we’ll just wait and see what happens as this winds its way through the courts,” said Heastie. 

Both cannabis showcase promoter Mr. Zee and Herbal IQ see it differently.

“I mean, what’s the holdup? Honestly, a lot of the consensus I’ve got by talking to people is ‘about time that there’s one of these that’s actually allowed without fear of enforcement stepping in,'” said Mr. Zee.

Barrett added, “The taxes go back into the community and instead of going into those drug dealer’s pockets it’s going back into the community, and to the state building up this program, and education.”

Only seven licenses have been issued to cannabis dispensary owners in the Finger Lakes region so far. None have opened. There is no word yet as to when more licenses will be granted.