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Retail Cannabis: Ontario County’s first legal dispensary nears opening amid regulatory hurdles

High Points Dispensary, poised to become the first cannabis shop in Ontario County is inching closer to opening its doors despite facing significant regulatory obstacles and communication challenges with the state’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM). Daryl Hilkert, owner and CEO, voiced his frustration over the delayed process and the lack of direct communication channels with the OCM, highlighting the financial strain of paying $10,000 monthly in rent since August 2023 without being able to operate.


Hilkert received his provisional Conditional Adult Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) license in June 2023, anticipating the start of legal cannabis sales in the state. Yet, nearly a year later, he finds himself navigating through a maze of regulatory requirements, including building inspections, specialized banking, and insurance, all while shouldering substantial financial investment without revenue.

As the New York State cannabis market’s rollout faces criticism, including a recent audit ordered by Governor Hochul, Hilkert remains hopeful. He received his final license on Monday evening and now awaits the OCM’s final compliance approval to officially open High Points Dispensary. His perseverance reflects both the challenges and the potential of New York’s emerging cannabis industry, with a new round of cannabis licenses expected to be announced soon.