‘Hope we finally start making money’: First ever cannabis growers showcase opens in WNY

BATAVIA N.Y. (WIVB) — There’s a new type of farmers market budding in Western New York — and this one helps folks who legally grow cannabis. The area’s first-ever cannabis growers showcase opened in Batavia Tuesday.

Local weed growers took a hit this year while waiting for cannabis dispensaries across Western New York to open.

“It’s been a struggle. Uphill all the way,” said Niagara Cannabis Company cultivator James Bullman.

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Empire Hemp Co. on Main Street in Batavia decided to host the area’s first ever cannabis growers showcase. It’s a pop-up store for licensed cultivators to sell their adult-use recreational products.

“Hope we finally start making money,” Bullman said. “All we’ve done is spend money. Spend and spend and spend and now we can try to recoup some of that money, reinvest it, create more jobs.”

Chris VanDusen, who owns the CBD retail store Empire Hemp Co., said he is “really excited” about the showcase.

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“It’s a great opportunity with limited dispensaries open,” said Chris VanDusen, “For a chance to make some money and the cultivators to make money because we’ve all been sitting on a lot of product for over a year now. It’s great.”

Empire Hemp Co. teamed up with Dank, a licensed cannabis dispensary in Buffalo, and more than a half dozen cultivators. Business owners say this is a major win for retailers and the growers.

“It’s been challenging for everybody, with the slow roll out of the dispensaries, this really helps,” VanDusen said.

“It lets [cultivators] get rid of product that you might not have a chance to get rid of, it’s going to go bad soon,” said Aaron Van Camp, who owns Dank. “It’s going to be fresher to market, where older stuff will be worth less, and it’s basically letting them get money that they’ve been promised they’re going to get for the last year.”

The showcase will continue every Tuesday through Saturday until January 1.

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Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.

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