“We spent our son’s college tuition, and there’s people who spent millions of dollars…we are trying to hold on,” one advocate said during Tuesday’s hearing.
Some legal experts like Ryan McCall, Deputy Cannabis Practice Chair for Tully Rinckey PLLC, said that farmers have been struggling the most since they have a lot of inventory with not enough places to sell what they’ve grown.
“Right now, the most marginalized class is the farmers,” McCall said. “The people who were one of the original people who were able to get the license and really kick off New York State Cannabis.”
Thomas Marcellino, part-owner of Amsterdam Cannabis, said he has already hired employees but hasn’t been able to offer them a start date due to the retail license delay.
“We’re paying rent, we’re paying bills for things. My brother left his job, I left one of my jobs, and it’s not very good. We’re paying bills and big money to have a building that’s just sitting.”
Nick Polsinelli, Co-Owner of Sugarhouse Farms, Inc, told News10:
“We look forward to more stores opening so that we can increase consumer access and fight the illegal stores currently plaguing our state. And delay will always help illicit operators and hurt regulated sales.”
During the hearing, advocates also voiced the need for financial assistance, especially for farmers. McCall said he won’t be surprised if assistance is offered in the upcoming months.
“I could see a compromise coming out where they would be able to at least help the farmers temporarily either via short-term loan where they could cover their operating expenses,” he said. “While being able to ramp up the next phase of New York cannabis, which I think everyone is excited for.”
In the meantime, cannabis retailers like Upstate Canna Co, the first retail recreational marijuana store that opened in Schenectady in March of this year, are hoping this is just a small bump in the road.
“Hoping for an expanded market in New York State that allows everyone equal access to cannabis for consumers,” Joe Leverett, Manager of Upstate Canna Co., said. “And is enabling to farmers and small businesses.”
Officials are hoping by this time next year, there will be at least around 200 dispensaries and stores in the state.
The state senate subcommittee on cannabis will hold its first public hearing on issues with the cannabis rollout on October 30.