US (NY): Cannabis startups fight for foothold

Jessica Nassaint took her seat at Babylon Town Hall, rubbing shoulders with a virtual who’s who of the cannabis industry.

There were union leaders, local officials, political advocacy groups, small business owners, and even lawmakers.

It was all part of a recent roundtable discussion hosted by Queens Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre, offering a frank discussion of how New York’s budding cannabis industry was coping. Whether it was complaints about unlicensed competition, fears of stigma, or even more local concerns, Nassaint, Jean-Pierre, and the rest of the participants traded battle stories and common pain points of trying to jumpstart this new industry.

Although some started out with high expectations of joining what seemed on paper to be a lucrative industry with a fast-track approval process and wide community support, the reality has been anything but.

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