BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It's been a long road but Buffalo should soon have its first state-licensed cannabis dispensary.
"Hopefully we should be open in the next couple of weeks," dispensary licensee Aaron Van Camp said.
New York for months could not grant conditional licenses in Western New York due to a court order. Van Camp was one of the first to get one last month after a judge finally lifted the injunction but quickly realized it wasn't his last obstacle.
"Lot of stress as far as securing a location. I've been told no and rejected by more places than I can count. It wasn't very easy finding a location," he said.
Whether it was issues with landlords or municipalities, Van Camp had a tough time securing a spot. He has one now in downtown Buffalo but is waiting on final approval from the Office of Cannabis Management before he discloses the exact location. Once he gets it and adds some final security measures, he believes he'll be able to quickly open the doors.
"The vendors are ready," he said. "They're ready with a capital Eddy."
Van Camp said he wants to get open as soon as possible, in part to help those vendors and farmers unload some of their products. He also said he's tempering his personal expectations after dealing with a slower than expected roll-out of the state's cannabis industry.
"We're not as hopeful as we were so we wanted to scale it down a little bit from what we wanted to do as far as square feet and build out and get in somewhere more comfortable financially where we don't feel we're going to have a ton of overhead we're going to be on the hook for," Van Camp said.
As likely the first licensed dispensary in the region, Van Camp said he doesn't know what to expect. He said there are factors in Buffalo, like a high volume of so-called gray market, or sticker shops, as well as dispensaries on nearby Seneca Nation territory, that make things unpredictable.
"The price of tax on a New York state pound is going to be more than a black market pound actually can be purchased for so it is somewhat tough to deal in but you have to know you're getting a certain level of quality and safety dealing with us," Van Camp said.
The owner said it's been a more complicated process than he expected but if successful he believes there is potential to branch out or help others open their doors in the future.