2023: A Year in Review

This past year was a rollercoaster ride for the NY cannabis industry. Here are a few highlights from around the Finger Lakes Region featured in our magazine and past newsletters.

In November 2022, Hal McCabe, mayor of the Village of Homer, was named the director of government relations of the Cannabis Association of New York (CANY). He became the organization’s executive director in September 2023. Check out our interview with McCabe in the Winter 2023 issue.

Earlier this year, Onondaga Community College launched CannabisHub. The cannabis education program provides certificates focused on the recreational cannabis industry. It focuses on three areas – cannabis cultivation science, dispensary training and extractions. The lessons, taught by professionals across several fields, are open to everyone. You can read more here.

FLX420 held its first cannabis grow-off. Twelve volunteers competed as they seedlings and growing solution – provided by our generous sponsors Humboldt Seed Company and SmartAlgae Solutions – and looked after their plants for several months. They shared their progress and pitfalls, offering what it’s like to look after an outdoor plant. Smokey Joe was ultimately crowned the winner. See what they learned in our September and December 2023 issues.

For the longest time, the Finger Lakes Region was behind on getting Conditional Adult-Use Retail and Dispensary (CAURD) licenses approved due to a months-long court case between Variscite NY One and the OCM. The injunction ended at the end of May, and on June 15 the New York State Cannabis Control Board (CCB) approved the first seven CAURD licenses for the Finger Lakes Region.

In June, Canandaigua dispensary Jaydega was one of dozens of grey market dispensaries that was raided by the Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). Owner George West, who has sold cannabis since the 1990s, watched as officers confiscated thousands of dollars’ worth of THC and CBD products. He remained optimistic and kept the store open after the raid. “The only thing I can do is adjust and adapt as things come my way,” he said in the September FLX420 article. The OCM shut Jaydega down in November.

Nowave, a processor based in Rochester, opened its brand-new facility in September 2022. A year later, FLX420 got an inside look at their operations and saw how they process biomass, extract and distill cannabinoid oil and use it in gummies and drinks. The full story can be found in our September issue.

Geneva welcomed its first legal recreational dispensary on Veterans Day. High Points Dispensary, located at 811 Canandaigua Road, features nine cultivators and three processors. Owner Daryl Hilkert emphasized his wish for customers – no matter whether they are regulars or first-time visitors – to feel welcome. He plans to involve the community at High Points by hosting classes and local events. The whole story is available here.

With any luck, we’ll have more good news for the region in store as the state continues to grow its cannabis industry.

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