Medical marijuana is a booming industry in New York State. Legally, it's been available since the start of 2016 - and word about its benefits are spreading. Patients need to be certified - and their numbers have skyrocketed more than 300 percent since August 2017. To help meet growing demand, a new medical cannabis dispensary will be opening in Buffalo.
The availability of medical marijuana is being phased in. Five more companies, or registered organizations, were approved by Albany to manufacture and dispense the product last year and several new dispensaries are just now beginning to open across New York, including The Botanist, on Seneca Street near the corner of Michigan Avenue.
"We've done a lot of research in the demographic and the needs of the patients in this local area. So we're procuring a lot of great products that we'll offer to the patients of Buffalo," said Sonya Parrish, the company's Director of Plant Operations. Parrish says everything is strictly controlled. Patients need to be certified by a healthcare professional and carry a state issued medical marijuana card.
"If it's their first time arriving to our Botanist Buffalo location, there'll be a intake process where they're going to fill out all of their information pertaining to the qualifying condition as well as maybe some of the other medications that they're on, to avoid any interaction. And kind of give us a idea of what their goal is, and work with a pharmacist on a consultation level, so that we can really best serve their needs," Parrish said.
The new store, she says, will employ 6-10 people. While the industry is booming, there are only two other medical marijuana dispensaries in the region: MedMen on South Union Road in Williamsville and PharmaCannis on Northpointe Parkway in Amherst.