The upcoming Cannabis Insider Summit in Albany, NY on Thursday, May 18 will provide cannabis industry professionals with a unique opportunity to address challenges, work on solutions, and exchange ideas.
The event will feature an open discussion forum facilitated by a professional mediation firm, allowing attendees to openly voice their frustrations and concerns related to the cannabis industry in New York State. Participants will have the chance to engage in deep conversations about the issues and spend the afternoon brainstorming solutions to some of the most pressing problems.
In addition to the open forum, the summit will also host informative breakout sessions where attendees can learn more about upcoming developments in the industry and best practices for cannabis business owners. You can download the agenda here.
The Bluntness caught up with NY Cannabis Insider's Editor, Publisher and Chief Instigator Brad Racino, who acknowledged that there is a geographic imbalance in industry involvement between cultivators/manufacturers and retail businesses, particularly those in the city vs. operators and cultivators from further upstate and western New York.
"My team and I are committed to ensuring that every voice in the industry is represented and heard, particularly those who are often underserved or underrepresented. We believe that incorporating a wide range of perspectives will lead to meaningful progress," added Racino.
The event will tackle several key problems currently facing the industry. One such issue is the role of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), a quasi-government agency that has been tasked with various responsibilities in the cannabis industry's initial rollout. However, DASNY has faced challenges in fundraising and banking, leading to frustration among retailers and others. Concerns have been raised regarding the agency's competition with license holders for real estate, slow approval processes, lack of loan terms, high rents, and other grievances.
Another significant issue revolves around the June 1 deadline. Certain license types, such as Adult-Use Conditional Cultivator and Adult-Use Conditional Processor, have a deadline that restricts their ability to distribute products to retailers beyond that date. Without a legislative fix, there could be a disruption in the legal supply chain for cannabis products in New York State.
The summit will also address the crumbling medical program in New York, which has resulted in limited access, product types, and affordability for medical cannabis patients. The lawsuit filed by some medical cannabis companies over their exclusion from the recreational market further highlights the challenges faced by the program and its impact on employees and patients.
The 4/20 bill introduced by Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Michelle Hinchey will be another topic of discussion. This legislation proposes allowing cultivators to sell products directly to consumers and establishing a loan or grant program to assist farmers in processing cannabis. However, concerns have arisen regarding the feasibility of implementing a "mini retail store" on growers' properties and potential divisions between license holders and cultivators.
Enforcement and the legacy industry will also be examined. Governor Kathy Hochul's enforcement bill aims to increase fines against unlicensed businesses and grant broader authorities to regulatory bodies. The impact of this bill on black and brown business owners and its potential consequences for the industry will be discussed. Additionally, the challenges faced by the legacy industry in transitioning into the legal market, including the lack of necessary support, financial aid, and banking services, will be explored.
Lastly, the summit invites participants to identify and discuss other major problems that may be currently overlooked, ensuring a comprehensive examination of the industry's challenges.
Furthermore, Racino shared that the Summit will also have a designated "Safe Zone" for veterans, and others, who may suffer from PTSD or anxiety. The designated area will be a quiet space to just decompress and relax away from the event.
Overall, the Cannabis Insider Summit seeks to provide a platform for industry professionals to engage in meaningful discussions, propose solutions, and address the pressing issues facing the cannabis industry in New York State.