Cannabis business: New York


Lorna Gaskin, Prohibition Partner
October 22, 2021

Business of Cannabis: New York brought some of the leading companies in the industry to the stage to share their insights and knowledge. From the breeder to the consultant, the state of affairs sessions gave real insights straight from the source.

Mitch Baruchowitz, Managing Partner of Merida Capital

Mitch Baruchowitz, CEO of Merida Capital, spoke about the state of play for Merida. Mitch continued and changed perceptions about an equitable industry, addressing some of the difficulties involved in moving from an illegal to a legal market. As for Merida’s forecast for the New York lawyer market, Baruchowitz currently considers all forecasts to be too conservative: “The rational analysis will underestimate the New York market.”

Allan Gandleman, Head of NYCGPA, with David O’Brien, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Cannabis Business Association.

Allan Gandleman, Head of New York Growers and Processors Association, met with Jonathan Rubin, CEO of New Leaf Data Services to discuss how small and medium-sized growers among the big players can stay relevant and how a dynamic and inclusive ecosystem can be built . Gandleman set out part of the legislative timeline and said, “Hopefully we will look at some kind of timeline for early 2022”.

Regarding the progressive nature of the MRTA, Gandleman highlighted not only social justice but also the environmental elements of the law: “Part of the MRTA that is really remarkable is its commitment to environmental sustainability. We all know the energy consumption of cannabis in Colorado et cetera, and you know that here in New York we prefer the outdoors ”.

Gary Santo, CEO of Tilt Holdings and Andrew Udell, Managing Editor of TheCannalysts.

Gary Santo, CEO of Tilt Holdings, joined Andrew Udell, Managing Editor of TheCannalysts, for a recent meeting. Santo expanded the Shinnecock Indian Nation partnership that Barre Hamp had discussed earlier in the day. Santo stressed the importance of helping tribal peoples create businesses that they will continue to own and run: “It’s about building a real economic ecosystem that will give back to the reserve and the nation itself,” said he

Santo discussed regulations, access to capital, and branding, but social justice was the focus of his talk. “Social justice is not just about writing a check or the diversity of the people we hire, it’s about getting involved in the community and trying to create the next wave of cannabis entrepreneurs and operators.”

Jennifer Drake, COO of Ayr Wellness

Jennifer Drake, Ayr Wellness Co-Chief Operating Officer, had the final meeting with Andrew Udell.

Drake shared Ayr’s ambition to “truly be the largest producer of high quality flowers in the country” and shared her enthusiasm for launching new products like Levia (a THC-infused seltzer).

Examining some of the difficulties of vertically integrating, growing and delivering quality products, she kept saying, “Running a cannabis business is hard so you have to be really passionate about it.” Attracting and retaining such great talent is the only way to consistently do well all these difficult things. “