ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — Plans to open up cannabis dispensaries are now up in the air after a lawsuit put the process on pause. Our Capitol Correspondent, Amal Tlaige, spoke with entrepreneurs based in Rochester who applied for the Conditional Adult Use Recreational Dispensary license but are facing some obstacles.
In November, a federal judge blocked five regions from moving forward with opening dispensaries. This stems from a lawsuit a Michigan company filed against the Office of Cannabis Management, claiming the state’s application process was discriminatory against those who live outside New York. Those regions are Central New York, Western New York, Mid-Hudson, Brooklyn and the Finger Lakes. The Office of Cannabis Management responded to the lawsuit with a motion that would limit the injunction to just the Finger Lakes; it’s still not known how the judge will rule.
CAURD applicants, Britni and Jayson Tantalo are founders of Flower City Dispensary in Rochester and have extensive history working in the cannabis field. The Tantalos have their hearts set on opening shop in the Finger Lakes. “We live in Monroe County, so obviously finger lakes, this is our hometown, and you know we’ve built that trust within our community to want to give back here and you know raise our children here,” said Brinti Tantalo.
But with the ongoing lawsuit, they don’t currently know where their application stands. They helped to form a coalition to communicate better with the office. “So pre-coalition OCM really had zero connection to upstate, or to us in particular, now post-coalition it seems like they’re instantly responding now to your emails,” said Jayson Tantalo.
The Tantalo’s say they have nothing against OCM, they just want to ensure resources and communication are available. They also said opening dispensaries in the Finger Lakes would be good for the city. “Rochester is the top five of poverty in the nation, so, talk about reinvesting the capital back into the community. Well, this could take a year they could take two years Everybody is gonna capitalize off of this except our community,” said Mr. Tantalo.