News and Special Updates


The Daily Gazette: Medical marijuana producer hopes to expand into recreational market

John Cropley – January 5, 2019



Meanwhile, this past week was the third anniversary of the legalization of medical marijuana in New York state.

It got off to a slow start here, with few practitioners able to certify patients to buy marijuana extracts and nowhere for patients in many counties to buy the products.

Gov. Cuomo himself was opposed to medical marijuana, then softened his stance on it while remaining opposed to legal recreational use. He embraced legalization of recreational marijuana while facing a primary challenge for re-election last year.

Vireo Health of New York CEO Ari Hoffnung diplomatically avoided criticism: “The medical program in New York has been growing at a steady rate and is going in the right direction,” he said.

Hoffnung said his parent company — which also has medical marijuana operations in Maryland, Minnesota and Pennsylvania — entered the New York market specifically to provide medical products, not to set the stage for future expansion into recreational products, a goal he now hopes to achieve.

But he has not turned a profit with medical marijuana, and Vireo isn’t alone in this.

Massachusetts-based Curaleaf, which operates in a dozen states, cut the ribbon on its fourth New York state dispensary on Friday. Financial disclosures for investors show Curaleaf’s revenues in the first three months of 2018 grew strongly over the same period of 2017.

Hoffnung’s expectation is that recreational sales will create economies of scale that will reduce costs and thereby boost popularity of medical marijuana extracts. A crippled illegal marijuana trade would complete the trifecta.


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