NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Seneca Nation’s first retail marijuana store owned and operated by the Senecas will open to the public on April 12.
That’s according to a sign on the door of Nativa Cannabis on Niagara Sreet, by the Seneca Niagara Resort and Casino.
Phil Pantano, a spokesperson for the Seneca Nation, says he expects this marijuana store to open in two weeks.
There are several independently owned pot shops on Seneca Territory that have been open for a while. Pantano says some additional construction needs to be done over the next two weeks and information technology systems need to be installed before the store fully opens.
According to the Seneca Nation, Nativa Cannabis will operate a 2,500-square-foot building, which will offer cannabis products to customers aged 21 and older. The dispensary will have a drive-thru window for customers to pick up orders.
As for getting more marijuana dispensaries opened across Western New York, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes says she expects licenses for those businesses to be approved soon.
“I fully anticipate that the Office of Cannabis Management will on their next upcoming board meeting which is April the 3rd offer licenses to communities in the great City of Buffalo as well as other districts that have been left out,” Peoples-Stokes said.
The New York Times reports that the Cannabis Control Board could approve as many as 108 licenses at that meeting on Monday. This comes after a federal appeals court in Manhattan lifted part of an injunction allowing the state to issue licenses to marijuana dispensaries. So far, there are only six verified marijuana dispensaries in New York State.
Lawmakers hope to allow more dispensaries to open to crack down on illegal marijuana operations. Peoples-Stokes says marijuana enforcement details are being discussed in state budget negotiations. The state budget is due on April 1st.
“During the course of our very complicated budget process, we’re working on trying to create some additional enforcement legislation, so law enforcement across the state is saying they need more teeth, the tax department is saying they need more teeth,” Peoples-Stokes said.
Peoples-Stokes also wants to see more registered organizations that make and dispense medical cannabis to be authorized to operate this summer.
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Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.