Syracuse’s largest nursing home operator receives first legal weed license in Central New York.

Loretto, operator of downtown New York’s largest nursing home and other health services for the elderly, has received the region’s first license to sell recreational marijuana.

But the plans for the non-profit agency are still in their early stages. In statements, Loretto said the license was technically granted to an affiliated agency that hopes to find a third-party operator to open and operate a retail outlet called a dispensary.

The license is owned by Advanced Institutional Support Services LLC, a subsidiary that provides catering services to Loretto. According to the statement, the dispensary’s third-party operator has not yet been identified, and there are no decisions yet on the location or schedule for reopening.

According to a statement provided by Loretto’s public relations consultant Cristal DeStefano of Strategic Communications, the main purpose of the license is to provide a new source of income to help Loretto offset what he says are losses from the state’s Medicaid program.

“This is not an attempt to get into the cannabis industry, but a response to the urgent need to find new sources of income,” the statement said. “… “This is the first step in getting ready to diversify your income sources to make up for New York State’s severe Medicaid funding gap.”

The state cannabis administration listed Loretto on a list of 30 new recreational marijuana retail licenses announced Wednesday. This brings the total number of issued state retail licenses to 66, although only two of them are currently open, both in Manhattan.

To date, 56 retail licenses have been issued to individuals who have been convicted of marijuana offenses that are no longer considered felonies as part of the state’s efforts to bring social justice to those most affected by past crackdowns. with drugs.

Another 10 were awarded to non-profit organizations whose mission includes serving those who have been convicted or jailed for marijuana offenses and/or have employees and partners in that community. This is how the Loretto related app was made and approved.

“This initiative also aligns with Loretto’s long-standing model of pragmatic altruism—the search for a win-win scenario that will benefit our individual employees as well as the organization as a whole and the community as a whole,” Loretto said in a statement. “Many Loretto employees have either been personally affected or the communities in which they live have been affected by disproportionate enforcement of the cannabis ban.

“… Any income we receive from the CAURD business initiative will go directly to investment in employee pay increases and more workforce development projects.”

Another non-profit organization based in downtown New York, the Center for Community Alternatives, has also been licensed to retail. In addition to Syracuse, he has offices in New York and Rochester.

Loretto has approximately 2,500 employees at 19 different locations in Onondaga and Cayuga counties serving over 10,000 people. It describes itself as the fourth largest healthcare provider and the sixth largest employer in the region.

If Loretto’s plans come to fruition in a timely manner, it could become the first state-licensed marijuana shop for recreational consumers in downtown New York. Union Springs has medical marijuana pharmacies and a recreation store that is legally operated by the Cayuga Nation. There are also many illegal (unlicensed) marijuana shops in the area.

There’s another problem: the state is now prohibited from issuing retail licenses to individuals in central New York and certain other parts of the state due to a lawsuit filed last year.

In this case, the Michigan company is challenging New York’s rule that successful licensees must have a “significant presence” in the state. A federal judge has issued an injunction preventing the state from issuing licenses in areas of the state, such as Central New York, where the company has indicated it hopes to apply for a license. The state is appealing this decision.

However, the injunction does not apply to non-profit organizations applying for licenses, according to Aaron Gitelman, a spokesman for the state Office of Cannabis Management.

While the state legalized the possession of recreational marijuana for individuals aged 18 and over in April 2021, the growth of the industry—manufacturers, processors, and retailers—has been slower.

Of the two state-licensed open dispensaries, one is run by Housing Works, a non-profit agency that provides services to the homeless in New York City. It opened at the end of December. The other, which opened this month, is run by a person who qualifies under social justice regulations. All other awarded licensees are still working on the discovery.

More cannabis coverage in downtown New York

Don Kazentre writes for NYup.com, syracuse.com and Poststandard. Reach him in [email protected]or follow him to NYup.comon Twitter or facebook.

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