The legalization of recreational marijuana is up in the air in Albany. Advocates and opponents in the state legislature are running out of time to hash out a deal before the March 31st budget deadline. But as WBFO's Chris Caya reports - plans for building a high-tech cannabis campus on the Buffalo waterfront are still moving forward.
There's no construction timeline for the cannabis operation, in Lakeside Commerce Park, yet. But that didn't stop Flora Buffalo from naming its new president, Dasheeda Dawson.
"At the end of the day one of the misconceptions is that you legalize and then now we get to work. And in reality that's how usually things don't work out as well as you anticipate them. And so the intention behind even naming me as the president as early as now is really about us employing strategies before legalization to ensure that we are actually preparing the market."
Dawson says legalization is only a matter of time and the $200 million complex being planned, off Route 5, will be more than a grow operation.
"My degree is in molecule biology so I entered the industry with the thought that cannabis should be rebranded as medicinal product," Dawson said.
The company's already established a partnership with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
"The ability for our innovative technology to be paired with great minds in the U.S. around cancer research to drive pioneering therapeutic breakthroughs is really the key for us," Dawson said.
Flora Buffalo is also partnering with Erie Community College on several training programs including for lab technicians for product testing. The company is planning to create 500 to-a thousand jobs and provide incubator space for startups in the cannabis industry.