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Buffalo's First Recreational Dispensary Coming Soon

Buffalo’s First Recreational Dispensary Opens Soon

Soon, Buffalo, New York will welcome its first cannabis dispensary for recreational use. It has been a lengthy journey, but Buffalo’s first recreational dispensary is finally going to open, operated by Aaron Van Camp.


When the licensee for Buffalo’s first recreational marijuana dispensary was asked when we should expect it, Van Camp confidently stated, “hopefully we should be open in the next couple of weeks.”


Van Camp Awarded License For Being Impacted By War On Drugs

Through the CURAD program, Van Camp is one of the first four business proprietors in Western New York to obtain a license to operate a marijuana dispensary. The CAURD program is intended to pave the way for social equity enterprises to cultivate and sell cannabis in the state’s new recreational market. New York says that this group includes people from areas that have been hit hard by the war on drugs, as well as people of color, women, farmers who are having trouble making ends meet, and veterans

Aaron Van Camp will soon be able to legally sell cannabis after serving six years in prison on marijuana offenses. Van Camp spent the years 2010-2016 in prison for selling cannabis. Now, Aaron is slated to open Buffalo’s first recreational dispensary.

Due to a court order, the state of New York was unable to issue conditional licenses in Western New York for months. Last month, after a judge ultimately lifted the injunction, Van Camp was one of the first to receive a license, but he soon realized that this was not his final obstacle.


Difficulty Securing A Site

Van Camp had difficulty securing a location due to problems with landlords and municipalities which he said created, “a lot of stress.” He currently has one in downtown Buffalo but is awaiting final sanction from the Office of Cannabis Management before revealing the precise location. He believes he will be able to open the doors swiftly once he obtains the information and implements the remaining security measures.

Van Camp stated that he wants to open as soon as feasible, in part to assist the vendors and producers in unloading some of their goods. “The vendors are ready,” he reports. As a result of the slower-than-anticipated rollout of the state’s cannabis industry, he has tempered his personal expectations.

Van Camp stated, “we’re not as hopeful as we were so we wanted to scale it down a little bit from what we wanted to do as far as square feet and build out and get in somewhere more comfortable financially where we don’t feel we’re going to have a ton of overhead we’re going to be on the hook for.”


Unpredictable Factors In The Region

As the first licensed dispensary in the region, Van Camp stated that he does not know what to expect. According to him, there are a number of unpredictability-inducing factors in Buffalo, such as a large number of so-called gray market “sticker shops” and dispensaries on adjacent Seneca Nation territory.

“The price of tax on a New York state pound is going to be more than a black market pound actually can be purchased for so it is somewhat tough to deal in but you have to know you’re getting a certain level of quality and safety dealing with us,” Van Camp explained. Even though it may cost more, New York state’s rules for quality control will be closely followed. This means that you can be sure the cannabis product you buy is clean and free of bugs and mold.


Rochester Cannabis Delivery Service Plans

As of now, many surrounding areas including Rochester, New York have not opened any recreational cannabis dispensaries yet. While the legalization of recreational marijuana in New York State is a step forward, there are still several obstacles that need to be overcome before dispensaries can start operating. And this battles has been going on since the New York legalized recreational cannabis over two years ago, in February 2021.

The lack of available licenses and the power of local municipalities to opt-out can limit access for consumers. Additionally, local municipalities have the power to opt-out of allowing dispensaries within their borders, which can further limit access for consumers. 

In the meantime, residents can still purchase marijuana products from neighboring cities or through medical dispensaries with a valid prescription. However, this can be difficult, if not impossible, for some. For example, a person living in Rochester with chronic pain may have to travel long distances to obtain medical marijuana from a dispensary in a neighboring city. This can be especially challenging for those without reliable transportation or limited mobility. 

Since surrounding areas, including Rochester, are still in the midst of legal battles regarding recreational cannabis dispensaries, Van Camp has a plan up his sleeve. Van Camp plans to launch a cannabis delivery service in Rochester and surrounding areas. According to Van Camp, he will be permitted to make deliveries in various regions, but his facility must be located in Buffalo.

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