Breaking News
More () »

Western New York cultivators brace for conditional cannabis license rollout

Four CAURD licenses were granted to dispensaries in Western New York Monday.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Western New York’s budding cannabis industry reached a historic high Monday night with the cannabis control board issuing four conditional cannabis licenses to Western New York dispensaries.

The news is finally lighting a path from seed to sale for cultivators like Tom Szulist, two years after the law passed.

“This is a new industry, and anytime you're dealing with something new, it never happens as quickly as you want it to and as easy as you want to, but in the long term, they're doing it right,” said Szulist, who owns Singer Farm Naturals.

It comes after a judge partially released an injunction last Tuesday that prevented Western New York and four other regions from obtaining CAURD licenses, now leaving only the Finger Lakes under restriction.

The ruling marked a turning point and shifted the attention to permanent licenses and their anticipated application period this fall despite frustration across the industry over the CAURD program’s delayed timeline.

“We're kind of on target in terms of a two-year, three-year rollout is not uncommon to see in legal states,” said Joe Schafer, attorney at Lippes Mathias LLP. “So while obviously there was a ton of excitement back in March of 2021 when this got passed, the real work is about to be done.”

For cultivators like Szulist, Monday’s news acts as a green light to ramp up manufacturing on his two-acre farm while he waits for greener grass to come with permanent licenses next year.

“It's the beginning,” Szulist said. “There's got to be a lot more. I mean, four dispensaries are not going to nearly be able to handle the volume of what we need. So it's a start.”

In the meantime, CAURD licenses will continue to be rolled out with 18 additional licenses expected to be granted in Western New York, taking the region’s total to 22 dispensaries by May.

Before You Leave, Check This Out