TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — It's been a dream to fill the back room of Bison Botanics with marijuana plants. Right now as licensed hemp manufacturers, they have their eyes on the effects of the new legislation in 2022.
“We expect it immediately to be a 5 to 10 times increase in business," said Justin Schultz, Founder and President.
Bison Botanics plans to grow and distribute marijuana to dispensaries statewide after applying for a license to grow, process and manufacture marijuana Town of Tonawanda.
"Everyday people are asking us if we can sell marijuana and we have to explain to them that we cannot do that yet," said Schultz.
Schultz says he's been in good communication with the town over the last year about their plans. But time is running out for municipalities to decide if they want to allow marijuana dispensaries or consumption sites.
So far, the number of municipalities that have opted out of both is:
- 7 in Niagara County
- 8 in Wyoming County
- 9 in Orleans County
- 13 in Genesee County
- 15 in Allegany County
- 15 in Cattaraugus County
- 17 in Erie County
- 30 in Chautauqua County
Info from the Rockefeller Institute of Government's Marijuana Opt-Out Tracker
"Some municipalities are just not there with the plant at all," said Crystal Peoples-Stokes, New York State Assembly Majority Leader.
Peoples-Stokes says she expects these towns to have a second chance to opt-in as public perception on cannabis evolves.
"The information and education of the value of this plant as well as the resources it may bring to governments I think will change the minds of people. There are municipalities around the country that are raising enough money to build new schools," said Peoples-Stokes.
There's currently in a gray area with this legislation—since it’s legal but Peoples-Stokes estimates licenses won’t given out until spring.
She says the challenge will be dealing with those who are already selling.
"It’s like the wild wild west, everywhere you go in New York State you will find someone selling marijuana," said Peoples-Stokes.
Which Schultz says only hurts the industry.
"I think it’s important for the community to understand the opportunity we’re being given here. To adhere to regulations properly so people who may not be pro marijuana currently will look at Bison Botanics in a positive light," said Schultz.
If you’re wondering where your town stands, click here for the Rockefeller Institute's tracker.