Here is another article about things going on around Rochester. Enjoy!

A medical marijuana dispensary in Rochester has been waiting to open its doors for a while now, but the wait finally seems to be over.

As reported by the Rochester Business Journal and Democrat and Chronicle, Columbia Care, LLC is one of the five firms licensed to sell medical marijuana in New York State. It currently grows marijuana in the former Eastman Business Park facility and its dispensary is located at 200 W. Ridge Road, also a former Eastman Kodak building.

The firm already distributes medical marijuana throughout Plattsburgh, Riverhead, Clinton County, and Suffolk County. As of Jan. 29, it will begin operating in the metropolitan region of Rochester as well. Last July, New York became one of 23 states in the U.S. that allow medical marijuana.

Columbia Care’s license was created when the state legislature authorized the sale of regulated medical marijuana under the Compassionate Care Act, along with four other companies. Bloomberg Industries, Etain, PharmaCann, and Vireo Health of New York are the other four licensed firms permitted to open dispensaries in New York State.

Although other states allow all doctors to write prescriptions for medical marijuana, New York requires that patients obtain prescriptions from a limited list of state-approved physicians (currently numbering 265, as of Jan. 21).

Additionally, the Compassionate Care Act ensured that New Yorkers can’t access medical marijuana as easily as residents in other states (such as California or Colorado). The legislation only permitted prescriptions for a very limited number of medical conditions, whereas other states permit the sale of medical marijuana for nearly any condition.

Oddly enough, as the DandC has already noted, the state hasn’t actually released its list of approved physicians to the public; this could very well become a problem when the Columbia Care dispensary opens but patients don’t know the process for obtaining medical marijuana.

It also seems that the strict state regulations are deterring Rochester-area doctors from seeking prescription cannabis registrations. New York State doctors who wish to prescribe medical marijuana are required to complete a four-hour course with the state Department of Health and register with the Department.

Despite the obvious lack of organization, the opening of Columbia Care will hopefully provide some much-needed relief for many Rochester residents.