While New York launces its legal marijuana market, local dispensaries still in limbo

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – After much anticipation, New York has finally launched its legal marijuana market. But, you won’t see legal sales like this happening anytime soon in much of Upstate New York. A federal lawsuit has blocked the state from handing out licenses for legal dispensaries in the Finger Lakes region, Central New York, Western New York, the Mid-Hudson region, or Brooklyn, for the time being. 

The problem is the rest of the state is full speed ahead. 

“I’m hoping that’s really only a temporary issue, but by the same token, you’re seeing people most likely spend lots of money early on who may be someone tapped out when the other regions begin to open up,” said Ryan McCall, attorney at Tully Rinckey.

But, the less people spend in our own region, the less our community gets back in tax revenue.

“We’re talking about how are these resources supposed to be reallocated towards building new assets within the community, being able to help those who’ve been disadvantaged by cannabis related offenses in the past. You’re now beginning to see those people be directly adversely impacted by this which I am hoping is going to become one of the major key points during the next hearings that would occur throughout the course of 2023,” McCall said.

The longer it takes though, the more the unregulated market thrives.

“So, I think the longer that this draws out, the longer you’re going to be able to see these type of shops pop up, which are going to adversely impact the card applicants who went through the proper system, spent most likely an exorbitant amount of money in order to get these card licenses, they are going to be the ones that end up getting ultimately shut out for following the process,” said McCall.

We’ve introduced you to a number of those applicants who were hoping to open legal cannabis shops locally. They continue to wait.