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Monroe County Will Be Home To A Medical Marijuana Company

Monroe County will be home to one of five medical marijuana organizations approved by New York State. 

Columbia Care NY LLC will both manufacture and dispense medical marijuana in the county, and will also dispense in New York, Suffolk and Clinton Counties. Columbia care and four other organizations were selected out of 43 companies that applied.

Columbia Care will have both a cultivation facility and a Rochester dispensary at Eastman Business Park, and CEO Nicholas Vita says he hopes to have product on the shelves by January 1, 2016.

"We're so grateful and so humbled by this decision and we're really looking forward to the opportunity to take all the experience and expertise that we've built in other markets and applying it to New York, into what we think is a phenomenal program and a phenomenal legal structure."

Columbia Care will initially be allowed to produce up to five types of medical marijuana products: liquids and oils that can be used via vaporization, through oromucosal (orally) or sublingual (under the tounge) administration, administered via a tube, or capsules that are taken orally. Pricing and advertising of these products must be approved through the Department of Health.

Vita says they will be working closely with their partners to best serve the community.

"Without a doubt the credibility and expertise and just the excellence that the Eastman Business Park and URMC have and have built over decades and decades of good work and productivity is something that I think will allay some concerns that may exist."

But ultimately, Vita says he hasn't seen much push back from the communities he has worked in regarding strictly medical cannabis. He says Columbia Care is an established brand, one of the largest manufacturers in the medically focused cannabis market, and they do not in recreational marijuana. Vita says that might be at least part of the reason their proposal was selected.

"We don't participate in any recreational markets. We have very high levels of compliance. We are a validated entity that has been vetted time and time again by all these other regulatory authorities."

He says they anticipate employing about 200 people in the Monroe County area over the next several years. But more importantly, Vita says he's eager to get operations underway in order to provide resources to those in medical need.

"The commonality that I think links us all is the fact that we all know somebody that's had cancer, we all know somebody that's had one of these illnesses. And we all know -- or, we all hope -- that there's a better way to treat these symptoms and these illnesses to let these people and these loved ones live a better life."

“Today’s announcement represents a major milestone in the implementation of New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program and keeps us on track to have the program up and running within 18 months of passage of the Compassionate Care Act,” New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said through a statement. “I am proud that we are on course to provide certified patients with access to medical marijuana more quickly than any other state in the nation.”

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