A much-anticipated medical cannabis dispensary has finally opened in Rochester.
The dispensary, located deep inside the Eastman Business Park on Ridge Road, is brightly lit with LED lights and shiny white counter tops, accented with wood paneling and textured fabrics in the waiting room. It's evocative of an Apple store with more flora.
Columbia Care's CEO Nick Vita says he's excited to be getting this off the ground, despite some delays. This opening comes three weeks after the state's medical marijuana program went into affect.
"From our perspective, we think that the opening has gone very well. We wanted to make sure that the facilities were ready for physicians scrutiny as well as patients scrutiny."
The dispensary currently has two different kinds of cannabis available, with varying levels of the different medicinal chemicals THC and CBD. Vita estimates the cost will average $100 to $300 a month for patients, but he says they offer subsidized options.
"Our goal is to make sure that if a patient arrives at our facility, they never have to leave empty handed because they don't have the financial means."
Right now, Columbia Care employs less than 20 people at their dispensary and cultivation center. Vita projects about 200 permanent jobs in the next few years. Columbia Care is one of five companies permitted to manufacture, cultivate, and dispense medical cannabis in New York.
Patients with qualifying conditions, like cancer, neuropathy, and Parkinson's disease, must register with the state through a certified physician in order to obtain it. More information about the program is available on the state's website.