Cannabis launch in New York turns into a bad trip: social justice critics

The start of the legal cannabis industry in New York is shaping up to be a bad trip — even before the first official marijuana stores open, social justice critics claim.

A group campaigning for the first licensed marijuana shop sellers with prior weed convictions said Friday they are doomed.

The Cannabis Social Equity Coalition said first-time sellers are having to buy cannabis products from New York hemp farmers of “questionable quality and safety,” aren’t adequately trained for the market, and are facing a mountain of debt.

Under New York’s Seed to Sale cannabis law, the product sold by licensed dispensaries must come from marijuana plants grown by local farmers.

However, the group said the “biomass” cannabis strain grown by farmers is not a suitable flower to smoke.

“This type of cannabis is considered low quality and is best suited for processing into oils, vapes, topical and edible cannabis products. It is not suitable as a smokable flower for sale in pharmacies,” said Reginald Fluellen of the Cannabis Social Equity Coalition.

He also claimed that cannabis grown by these hemp farmers contained “high levels of bacteria, yeast, and mold.”

Damian Fagon, chief equity officer of the NYS Office of Cannabis Management, smells a cannabis plant while touring Claudine Field Apothecary Farms October 7, 2022 in Columbia County, New York.
Damian Fagon of the Office of Cannabis Management argues that New York’s first adult dispensaries will sell products that have been tested for many potentially harmful elements.
Getty Images

The State Office of Cannabis Management denied claims that it approved the cultivation and sale of bad weed.

“Let’s stick to the facts, and they’re clear: New York’s first adult dispensaries will sell produce grown by New York family farmers and tested for a variety of potentially harmful elements, including heavy metals and E-Coli, Aspergillus and other pollutants consistent with practice in other states,” said Damian Fagon, OCM’s chief equity officer.

Meanwhile, the Cannabis Social Equity Coalition claimed that dispensary owners did not receive the proper training and incubation support needed to run a highly regulated cannabis business and that they were left with “heavy debt and high interest rates for the drugstore on day one.” debt repayment” will be burdened.

Damian Fagon, Chief Equity Officer of the New York State Office of Cannabis Management, speaks to reporters next to adult recreational marijuana plants hanging in a drying room at a farm in Suffolk County, NY on October 4, 2022.
The State Office of Cannabis Management denies claims that it approved the sale of bad weed.

OCM denied these claims as a buzz kill.

“These dispensary owners are supported by the Social Equity Cannabis Investment Fund, which is breaking down the barriers to capital in the complex industry; and they are able to boost the legal market with delivery sales and grow their capital before they open a store,” said OCM’s Fagon.

He said the owners of the first dispensaries had a history of running other successful businesses and “jumping to conclusions about the products they will be selling and their ability to be successful is a credit to them and our efforts to create the fairest cannabis market in the world.” create only harm nation.”

He also shot the Cannabis Social Equity Coalition as an MIA during the public comment process on cannabis regulations.

“We look forward to their input on the regulations for most of the remaining market that were advanced by the Cannabis Control Board last month as we have not received any comment from them on the regulations for this dispensing program,” said Fagon.

Cannabis flower in a glass
According to New York’s “seed-to-sale” law, the product must come from marijuana plants grown by local farmers.

Still, there’s little doubt that the burgeoning cannabis program faces challenges.

The latest criticism comes a day after revelations surfaced that former NBA star Chris Webber was selected by the state to help raise $200 million in a public-private partnership for the burgeoning legal cannabis industry , has raised no money.

Two days ago, a study found that there are “probably tens of thousands of illegal cannabis businesses” currently operating in bodegas, smoke shops and other storefronts in New York City — with many of the pop-up shops selling bad or dangerously tainted weed.

Many of these black-market weed sellers pay little or no tax, while the 36 state-owned retailers that were licensed by the state last month face a hefty cannabis tax.

That will make it harder for legal operators to price-compete with illegal vendors that have sprung up across the city — including decent middle-class neighborhoods like Kew Gardens. Cannabis launch in New York turns into a bad trip: social justice critics


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