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Challenges and concerns ahead for retail cannabis

Challenges and concerns ahead for retail cannabis (WRGB)
Challenges and concerns ahead for retail cannabis (WRGB)
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Tuesday, March 15th, Governor Kathy Hochul announced that farmers, looking to get a license to grow adult use cannabis, can now apply online.

MORE: Hemp farmers in NY looking to grow cannabis can apply online for license

The state says it expects its first recreational sales will begin by the end of this year.

CBS 6’s Heather Kovar speaks with established store owners in Massachusetts about concerns and challenges that lie ahead.

“I tell people all the time, this is not a get rich quick industry. It takes fortitude, it takes time, it takes patience,” said Brendan McKee, Co-Founder & CFO Silver Therapeutics.

Silver Therapeutics in Williamstown, Massachusetts opened in April 2019.

Co-founder Josh Silver is from Saratoga Springs.

When asked when they expect to move into Nee York, McKee said he thinks they are close.

“As a group we are identifying locations in New York already. “

He expects to participate in New York sometime in 2023. Last week New York announced the first set of licenses are expected to be awarded to those with marijuana convictions who can show they have run a successful business in New York.

MORE: New York bill would create two-tier licensing for marijuana

The office of cannabis management tells me a 60 day public comment period will kick off in about a week when the regulations are formally filed with the state registry.

The Business Council of New York State is working to make sure businesses will be successful, despite under federal law, they can’t make ordinary deductions.

Federal prohibition is a monetary obstacle that marijuana businesses will face.

MORE: Marijuana dispensaries reopen to eager customers, enforce social distancing

Paul Zuber, Executive Vice President of the Business Council of New York State says marijuana, although legal in 18 states, with 36 states having medical marijuana, it’s considered a schedule one controlled substance.

Zuber says the Business Council supports a bill that would

allow licensed cannabis companies to deduct certain expenses on their New York State taxes. They’d do this by decoupling a section of the IRS code from state tax code.

“I am canvassing the entire state from Soho to Schenectady looking at real estate, looking at opportunities,” said Charlotte Hanna, Founder and CEO of Community Growth Partners.

Hanna operates in Massachusetts and already works to enable those impacted by the criminalization of marijuana. She says she has concerns over people trying to get a jump on the market by selling illegally, in places like New York City.

MORE: Hold up in licensing delaying recreational pot sales in Massachusetts

The office of Cannabis Management says they are working with partners to enforce the law , and says anyone who is illegally selling is risking their ability to eventually operate in the legal industry.

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In Vermont, on Wednesday March 16th, a prequalification window opens for those looking to get in the cannabis market in that state.

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