Cannabis in the Finger Lakes: Read all about it –

Someday in the near future, a shopper may enter a cannabis dispensary somewhere in New York, perhaps Canandaigua. 

Depending on the size of the store, you may find 50 to 75 brands of edible cannabis. Along another wall, 50 to 75 tinctures, or drops. And still, there’s even more cannabis products to choose from, according to Nate Kurash, a Rushville resident of five years and founder of „FLX420,” a soon-to-be-released magazine dedicated to the cannabis culture. 

“When you walk into these dispensaries, it’s like walking into a cigar store or wine store. There are literally hundreds of options for people to choose from,” Kurash said. “Getting people educated on what to choose, what’s right for them, brand recognition — it could be very overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing.” 

Kurash is aiming to help with the magazine, which is set to launch in April. He’s also setting the groundwork for his involvement in the nascent New York cannabis industry. He plans to pursue cannabis licensing here, as he did in Missouri when he first entered the business. 

Curiosity got Kurash, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and a sales professional in the medical industry by trade, into cannabis.  

“Over my adult life I started seeing a lot of friends and acquaintances move away from alcohol towards cannabis,” Kurash said. “I was also hearing stories of people getting medical benefits from cannabis ranging from pain relief (to) help with insomnia and anxiety. All of which I had experienced myself.” 

Kurash joined a group that pursued medical cannabis licenses in Missouri and was successful in winning three cultivation and three processing licenses. 

He’s expecting similar success in New York, in particular the Finger Lakes region he now calls home. 

“The amazing success of the wineries and the existing tourism infrastructure that exists will definitely help pave the way for the adult-use cannabis industry,” Kurash said. “For this region to be successful I also believe that the those living here must fully embrace what is coming and want to make it succeed. The majority of people that I have spoken with have a very positive attitude and an openness to what lies ahead. This, combined with the abundance of agriculture land for growing cannabis, puts this region on a path towards prosperity.” 

Any such efforts in New York will take time. 

It’s only been about a year now for a person to legally have and use up to 3 ounces of marijuana, but businesses will have to seek licenses in order to operate a cannabis business. 

Canandaigua City Manager John Goodwin said he is not aware of interest in operating dispensaries in the city at this point, but that could be because the state has yet to implement its regulatory structure. City Council last year gave the OK for a retail dispensary to operate in the city, but a retail location for consumption — and consumption on public property, for that matter — are not allowed.

“It’s been our understanding that there won’t be anything that would be opened and operational until sometime in the spring of 2023,” Goodwin said. “It’s going to be awhile before we see retail dispensaries open up.” 

In the meantime, FLX420, Kurash said, will help to lay the groundwork for the cannabis industry. A lot of education needs to be done, he said, and a magazine is a vehicle to accomplish that. 

„I want to make sure the infrastructure is in place for a successful industry, but if you don’t have the consumers, no matter how many dispensaries you have, it’s not going to go anywhere,” Kurash said.

The first issue is scheduled to come out April 20 — 4/20 — which will coincide with a number of networking events. He plans to publish four print and online issues this year with the ultimate goal of coming out monthly.

Among the reasons he is launching the magazine is to help connect the cannabis consumer to those who will be growing and selling cannabis as well as those businesses that will support those consumers who choose to grow their own.

“Ultimately, I want the magazine to be a trusted one-stop shop for everything related to the adult-use cannabis industry here in the Finger Lakes region and surrounding areas,” Kurash said. 

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