ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. — With marijuana being legalized in New York State last year for recreational use, New York State's Cannabis Control Board has been working to create regulations so growers can begin their operations.
Now that those regulations are in place, we're getting our first look at a growing operation in the Southtowns.
Thursday, Cannabis Control Board members got their first look at some of the first product that will go to market when recreational sales are legal here in New York State later this year.
"When I heard Governor Hochul put it out there that the only people that can grow are hemp growers that did CBD, we sat with our team, which is my kids, this is a family business, and said we have a two year-window, we would be silly not to do it," state licensed cannabis grower Todd Giolando said.
Some of the cannabis at Giolando's farm will be ready for harvest in just five weeks, but it won't necessarily be able to be sold in five weeks. And that's because on Thursday, the Cannabis Control Board approved the application process for retail licenses.
2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik asked the Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management how the state is making sure the retail licenses are distributed evenly across the state.
"Part of the important work that the state is doing right now through our partners at the Dormitory Authority is helping to identify these locations, right? So they're going around right now identifying locations that'll be viable commercially and of course inherently incorporated in that is some dispersion of those locations so that everyone can be successful," said Chris Alexander, Executive Director of the Office of Cannabis Management.
The grower at the Erie County farm we visited on Thursday was growing hemp already, he still grows it, so he is hoping the same processor he uses for his hemp can be used for his cannabis.
Cannabis Control Board members told us on Thursday that they are still hoping the first retail sales happen before the end of the year.