Next year, a new market will be created in legalized marijuana sales when the Woodstock Music Festival hosts its first-ever cannabis festival for women. It’s been called “the female mecca” of legal pot and is expected to draw thousands of attendees from around the world. However, this growing industry may have missed an opportunity with only one license awarded so far — and no plans on how to stop that trend moving forward.

Women entrepreneurs to seek Woodstock license for recreational marijuana sales



Once the state allows applications for recreational marijuana dispensaries, a group of businesspeople and social justice campaigners thinks they will be able to build Woodstock’s first legal marijuana shop.

“We want to build a dispensary that Woodstock can be proud of, as well as one that is a nice neighbor and contributes to the community.” “We simply thought that in order to have that, we’d have to do it ourselves,” said Eliza Kunkel, who hopes to launch Illuminated Leaf at 33 Rock City Road with Erin Cadigan and Lisa Montanus. For the time being, Kunkel will be in charge of social justice, equality, operations, and compliance for the all-woman-owned corporation.

“I’ve always been a marijuana supporter in the sense that I believe in legalization as well as the expungement of criminal convictions,” Cadigan said.

“I haven’t used cannabis since I was probably in my 20s, but I’ve worked in the legacy industry for almost a decade.”

“It’s critical to keep it out of the hands of multi-state and international businesses that view it just as a method to earn money,” Cadigan continued. I prefer to think of what we’re doing as a for-profit corporation with a charitable heart. We have a very solid social equality strategy in place, both in terms of recruiting processes and salary, as well as community giving back. 

“Our corporate donation proportion will begin at 3%, with the goal of reaching 5% by year five.” Of course, there are the town taxes, which will bring in a lot of money for Woodstock,” said Cadigan, who is in charge of marketing and branding.

“I think we all believe that being local is vital, and that we’re bringing our personal ties to the community into the company,” said Montanus, who is also the director of community outreach and education. “We all have similar values.” We place a strong emphasis on giving back to the community. And it piques my interest.” 

The dispensary will be more than simply a storefront. Education will be a major priority.

“We’re going to provide seminars and instructional sessions for anyone who want to learn about cannabis in general.” What’s going on with New York State’s laws? What things will be accessible for consumers to eat after we open? How will they be able to eat the goods? Montanus explained how to speak to your kids about cannabis. “We want to be honest and offer as much information as possible to the public, so we’ll be bringing in outside speakers.”

The emphasis of Illuminated Leaf will be on normalization, according to Cadigan.

Martin Mills, Cadigan’s spouse, has been interested in cannabis prohibition reform.

“Cannabis has the potential to do a lot of good for our nation.” “Everyone, even those who have nothing to do with cannabis, might profit financially and in terms of tax income,” Mills said.

“I was assisting in the passage of the MRTA (Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act).” And once it happened, I was determined to remain in the cannabis industry. And this is a fantastic bunch of local Woodstock residents who all share the same sentiments and want this company to serve the community as much as possible.”

Jeff Collins, Montanus’ husband, became interested in marijuana legalization five years ago due to the economic benefits of bringing more business to the state and helping farmers.

“And now we’re finally there.” “Based on this plant, I believe we can already witness the beginnings of an economic boom,” Collins remarked.

“With hemp, we’ve seen it. We’ve witnessed an increase in hemp-related enterprises, and I just wish we had this information sooner. “I’ve been working on this for a long time, and I think it’s disappointing for all of us how long it took to get a law signed by the governor and the cannabis board authorized,” he added.

Collins commended Gov. Kathy Hochul for her efficiency in the office.

“The present governor has pushed things through and continues to do so as quickly as she can. And we enjoy it because she “sees the worth in it and isn’t afraid of it,” according to Collins. “This is critical for both economics and social justice.” For decades, individuals have been imprisoned because of a senseless restriction on a plant that should never have been forbidden.”

So far, there has been no opposition from the town. By the end of the year, each municipality must voluntarily opt out of dispensaries and lounges, or it will be automatically opted in. To yet, the municipal administration has made no indication that it will opt out. After all, this is Woodstock, they remarked. “It’d be like Chicago refusing to eat meat,” Collins added.

Prohibition by the federal government causes difficulties.

Because marijuana is still illegal under federal law, dispensaries around the nation have been refused bank accounts and credit card processing services. As a result, dispensaries are often cash companies, posing logistical and security issues. The same may be said about Illuminated Leaf. “It’s obviously a test.” “There are more chances than there were before, but there are still extremely few,” Collins added. 

“I was thinking, everything should be legal,” Cadigan said. It ought to be legal. It should be lawful on a federal level. Looking at the corporate vultures waiting in the wings, it’s become clear to me that I’d want to see every state go legal, come up with its own ideas and liberties for their population… Declassifying and descheduling marijuana by the federal government would be a fantastic place to start because it would relieve a lot of the constraints, such as federally operated banks and things like that, without letting the Philip Morrises of the world to come in and wipe out all the tiny companies.”

New York law is considered to be the most progressive.

Kunkel lauded the law passed by the state legislature. “That’s the beautiful thing about the New York statute, how progressive it was,” she added. “I don’t believe we’d be seeking to operate a dispensary if New York hadn’t enacted such a progressive legislation.”

Cadigan concurred.

“I think they’ve done their due diligence in looking at what’s happened in other states…[who] were like, it’s legal, but then… One corporation may operate 50 dispensaries, allowing for vertical integration. “Nothing like that is permitted in New York State,” she said. “New York State has promised that half of its licenses would go to social justice candidates, and they’ve already passed laws to that effect.” Is it because of women? Is it brown or black? Is it cost-effective? Is it someone who has served time or been penalized for their involvement with marijuana? They kind of cover all of the bases… “They’re also not going to grant someone a license to cultivate, manufacture, and then distribute,” Cadigan added.

“I suppose they’ll have five different sorts of licenses: farming, production, licensing, distribution, and on-site consumption,” says the author. Retail and delivery, I think, are the only two of the five that may conceivably be wedded.”

They think that limiting cannabis firms to three licensing applications would prevent anybody from becoming the Starbucks of dispensaries.

The process of selecting products is now underway.

The Office of Cannabis Management is working on application regulations, so product selection is a bit of a gamble.

“We expect to offer a wide range of floral, edible, and vape cartridges… We want to stock as many items as the market has to offer, and we want to be able to cater to both value and luxury clients. “We want to make this facility open to everyone who wants to use cannabis,” Mills said.

“Who gets licensed by New York State will determine which items we will carry.” As a result, growers and processors will be licensed before dispensaries. We’ve already begun forming relationships and agreements with prospective growers, and we’ll keep doing so,” Kunkel added.

Only products from New York may be purchased by dispensaries. Due to federal rules, marijuana cannot cross state lines.

Not for vagrants, teenagers, or ne’er-do-wells.

“There will be rules about who may enter the shop and how the process must operate.” I assume that everyone who enters the business will hand over their ID, which we will have to gather. “We’ll try to match the ID with the box they buy,” Collins said, “so we know if this is found in the hands of a 12-year-old, we didn’t sell it to the 12-year-old.”

Within a specified radius of a dispensary, smoking will be prohibited by law. In lounges, smoking will be permitted, however Illuminated Lead will not apply for a lounge license.

“So this isn’t going to be the place where you go to use cannabis and meet youngsters,” Cadigan said.

One of the advantages of being a new sector, according to Mills, is the technology available to help with security and accountability.

“Everything will be coded for each and every customer who buys it.” If it falls into the wrong hands, it should be quite easy to trace back to the individual who purchased it, according to Mills.

While the application process is underway, space will be available.

“One of the things we believe it’s necessary to do now, expecting that we’ll become a regulated dispensary,” Mills said, “is to assist educate the customer.” “We also put art and antique items in here to help defray some of our construction costs and inspire people to come in.” We’re beginning to bring in more cannabis-related retail things, such as books, instructional materials, CBD products, and accessories.”

Montanus will moderate a panel discussion on cannabis goods in New York on December 11 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. during the first event.

Amy Hepworth of Milton’s Hepworth Farms, who will describe what products they hope to develop, and Martha McDermott, a cannabis outreach educator and former director of patient relations for Etain medicinal marijuana products, will be among the panelists.

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