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Cannabis lawyer and pot farmer share latest on NY market

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CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — There are some growing concerns from New York pot farmers who have more crop than they can sell, as the state’s recreational marijuana market rollout has moved slower than many expected.

So far, a dozen retail marijuana stores have opened since New York legalized it two years ago, including one in the Capital Region. Ryan McCall, a Cannabis Law Attorney at Tully Rinckey, said while retail licenses continue being granted, it can take months for shops to actually get up and running.

“I think at this juncture everybody expected for there to be more,” McCall said, “which is beginning to make a lot of cultivators who have invested most likely hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, not able to move their product.”

Phil Spinelli is the CEO of Nightshade Farms located deep in southern Albany County.

“You know, the rollout has been slower than I think everyone would like, but it would be foolish to think that there wouldn’t be some amount of speed bumps along the way,” Spinelli told NEWS10 in a phone interview.

According to the Cannabis Association of New York, statewide, there is estimated to be hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of unsold cannabis.

“I feel bad because I know there are a lot of people that are sitting on material,” Spinelli said.

Spinelli explained he is not in as tight of a spot as other farmers may be, because he also has a processing license. He said he expects more movement soon in the retail market.

“I really believe that over the next, say, six months, you know, Q3 or Q4, we will really see the ramp up of stores,” Spinelli said. “We are getting flooded with calls from CAURD licensees that either have approved locations, or are starting to develop their storefront or business model.“

McCall suggests farmers pick up the phone and call, too.

“Right now if I was someone who is cultivating, I would be somewhat tempering my expectations,” McCall explained, “but I would also be reaching out to the people who you’re going to be supplying to, let them know, ‘hey, I have this amount of product that I can sell, what is your appetite going to be?’“

The Office of Cannabis Management approved 50 new dispensary licenses last month.

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