FAIRPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — Those around Western New York and the Finger Lakes region temporarily blocked by a federal judge from receiving a recreational marijuana dispensary license are speaking out on the negative impact this may have on their local businesses.
This is due to a lawsuit filed by an out-of-state cannabis company arguing New York’s application process is unconstitutional.
Initially, the Office of Cannabis Management was only approving applicants with companies that were from or headquartered in New York. It showed old marijuana prohibition laws negatively impacted old marijuana prohibition laws. But Variscite NY One argues that it violates interstate commerce protections.
Those caught up in the middle of this include Jason and Britni Tantalo who own Flower City Hydroponics. A business that teaches medical users how to grow their cannabis, they started in New York. Which they argue should be prioritized over out-of-state chains.
“It’s unfortunate that people are going to find a way to halt, stall to find their way in,” Flower City Hydroponics Co-Owner Britni Tantalo said. “I mean New York is projected to be one of the largest cannabis economies in the world. So, you can see why people would be interested in delaying or intervening if they can.”
“He could of went and got himself a bank account in New York and that would have established a significant presence in the state,” her husband Jason added. “I believe this is just a way to stall the process because he’s not from New York.”
Unsure how long this litigation will drag on, the Tantalo’s had to pause hiring new employees and clients to partner with. Their concern is the economic toll this could take on the county.
“We’re stalling economic growth for Monroe County,” Britni told us. “Job creation, so all the people looking for the jobs is now halted. Revenue tax dollars that are supposed to be re-invested into disenfranchised communities and help rebuild Rochester, that’s halted.”
Without regulated dispensaries to go to, the Tantalo’s and their colleagues also fear marijuana sales on the streets will continue to fuel crime and reach people underage.
“When you have an overproduced product with not enough legal supply and demand, it fuels the black market heavily,” Jason explained. “And impacts sustainability over the long term.”
The legal team for Variscite NY One would not comment on pending litigation, nor would the Office of Cannabis Management. But they did tweet that they’re still committed to getting New York’s Cannabis supply chain operations. Including those impacted by the state’s old cannabis prohibition laws.
Other areas of the state also prohibited from receiving a recreational marijuana license due to this lawsuit include Brooklyn, Mid-Hudson, and Central New York.