Hear Zach Sarkis, founder of NY HempLab, and Jason Klimek, Esq., Chair of the Cannabis Practice at Boylan Code LLP, to discuss the likely legalization of marijuana in New York State this spring.

The legislation is currently being crafted and negotiated by the governor and legislature.  This is a critical time for New Yorkers to help shape the laws and regulations that will govern commercialization.  Our conversation with two experts on this issue will shed light on the legislative process and what it might mean for our region.

RocGrowth’s mission is about building community for our region’s great innovators and entrepreneurs.  For seven years, we have featured our leading entrepreneurs in a series of open interviews, including audience participation.


  • Chat Links and messages from RocGrowth Candids * Marijuana Legalization: Opportunities and Challenges”

00:21:32 Patrick Sughroue: Also in Michigan – by public referendum
00:23:50 Patrick Sughroue: In Michigan – the legislation and regs include a “social equity” component for licensees – which is picked up by local ordinances as well.  MI is a good guide.
00:24:44 iPhone sean liebel: Hemp regulations have been too harsh for sure as well. Plus please consider Blockchain opportunity with the Foundry in terms of mining hydroponically.
00:27:28 Tom Myers: You can view Zach’s first RocGrowth at https://rocgrowth.com/2019/03/06/rocgrowth-candids-zach-sarkis-nyhemplab-michele-liddle-the-perfect-granola/
00:27:59 iPhone sean liebel: All of it honestly is very ridiculous. Cannabis is just a plant an Amsterdam policy to drugs as a whole would be way more effective.
00:29:17 iPhone sean liebel: What about granting clemency to all people charged with marijuana selling who now have felonies?
00:29:56 Molly Gaudioso: Once passed, what are likely to be the implications/options for local governments in their own tax and land use regulations? I’ve heard (year or more ago) that it would be left up to the county to “opt in” and not necessarily be left to individual localities.
00:30:03 Patrick Sughroue: I encourage NY friends to network with states which have gone legal for MEd and AU – for some best practices and mistakes to avoid.  Chris Cooley can help with this.
00:30:43 iPhone sean liebel: What about hemp fuel?
00:30:50 iPhone sean liebel: no
00:31:30 iPhone sean liebel: Hemp/Cannabis is good for hundreds of reasons not just getting people high
00:31:36 scottmeyers: Is there a component to this bill that addresses the mass incarcerated individuals at result of low level drug charges
00:31:49 iPhone sean liebel: probably not
00:32:38 Patrick Sughroue: US Dept of Agriculture has a Hemp pilot program which works with states to permit hemp growers and provide data back to Dept of Agriculture.  Barrier is .3% or less THC content.
00:32:48 iPhone sean liebel: that would be my biggest concern too if I was locked up for charges
00:33:50 iPhone sean liebel: these people are huge hypocrites saying justice but yet don’t event think of granting full clemency to those charged
00:34:24 iPhone sean liebel: even*
00:35:12 iPhone sean liebel: lower charges is nonsense too no full drop of them if it becomes legal
00:35:13 Sam Weiner: Are there any specific concerns in terms of regulating smaller businesses?
00:35:53 iPhone sean liebel: @Sam Weiner Most likely just more governmental control as usual
00:36:21 iPhone sean liebel: they never learn
00:37:23 Sam Weiner: There are potentially technological concerns which could be addressed.
00:38:02 iPhone sean liebel: With plants?
00:38:09 iPhone sean liebel: How?
00:38:21 Sam Weiner: With data
00:38:28 iPhone sean liebel: blockchain
00:38:28 Yvette Pagano: I spoke with Jen Lundsford last week and she fully supports the MRTA
00:39:05 iPhone sean liebel: cloud can help and also blockchain especially for data
00:39:15 iPhone sean liebel: please don’t overlook that
00:39:32 Sam Weiner: Yep
00:39:54 Kathy Palokoff: with this looking like a big business play, will there continue to be a “black market” driven by small growers?
00:40:19 iPhone sean liebel: Rochester has the Foundry which is growing there that can partner potentially in terms of hydroponics
00:40:41 Abraham Tibebu: in God we Trust, all else bring data. fact based, data based conversation backed by a strong coalition can drive change. at lease that’s my naïve point of view.
00:41:07 Patrick Wahl: Is it expected that commercial marijuana production will be permitted to in fields and/or greenhouses – or within buildings only?
00:41:34 scottmeyers: Is there a component to this bill that addresses the mass incarcerated individuals at result of low level drug charges
00:41:41 Shreeram Shrivastava: Incentives should be provided for developers that show leadership in implementing climate smart Green infrastructure. Environmental improvements, conservation and recycling could be part of the farms and indoor growing facilities. Ram/Larsen Engineers
00:44:35 Mary Kruger: https://mailchi.mp/e45d5b2138b1/roc-norml-mailing-list-signup
00:45:04 iPhone sean liebel: Reform? How about just treating it like alcohol?
00:45:35 scottmeyers: @Mary has there been efforts from your organization to lobby local governments to support the statewide bill? Monroe county legislature?
00:47:51 Mary Kruger: @Scott we have worked with City Council but have had difficulty getting support form the County level – would love to connect with anyone who could possibly assist with this!
00:48:35 Chris Cooley: There are a ton of specific questions that, unfortunately, we won’t be able to cover today because of the time constraints… you can get these questions answered offline by visiting >>> https://nyhemplab.wildapricot.org/Events
00:48:40 iPhone sean liebel: the real question is why does the government always have to meddle in our business so much?
00:51:05 Ada Denise: do you think there will ever be a market for ohio
00:51:39 iPhone sean liebel: the market is underground already
00:52:35 iPhone sean liebel: just go ask your local cannabis dealer
00:53:07 Ada Denise: kinda scared to share
00:54:38 Jim T.: 1) Any Banking updates for this industry under the proposed State legislation?
00:54:47 Tom Szulist: Anyone lobbying for small business growing and selling to the public? Like microbrewery?
00:54:52 iPhone sean liebel: more like a purposeful failure to keep people divided
00:55:26 Jim T.: 2) How do SMBs not get cut out the market by big business?  How is law crafted to make it fair?
00:56:00 Jim T.: Richard just hit the nail on the head!  100% correct assessment.
00:56:05 Naveen Havannavar: can you shed some light over the challenges to start/run banking operations to support this industry operations
00:57:13 Jim T.: @Naveen, exactly, Fed Banking rules make this industry more complicated.
01:00:20 Jim T.: 3) Do growers, dispensaries, intermediaries still have “own” 100% of their locations & properties, under the current iteration of the proposed law?
01:00:57 Christine Christopher: Please join us in raising funds to commemorate Frederick Douglass with a bronze statue at the newly renamed Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport.  To learn more, please contact Carvin Eison, Rochester Community Media  ce@rctv.org 325-1238  Thank you so much!
01:04:39 Maureen Ballatori: I have to hop off, but this was a fascinating conversation all around. Thanks for facilitating!
01:05:06 Ada Denise: msadadenise all social sites
01:05:19 Andrew Brady: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-future-of-conscious-capitalism-tickets-141172190823
01:05:23 Kathy Palokoff: Thanks for amazing hour.  Zac — You ROCK!!
01:07:03 Chris Cooley: Hi all we recommend visiting to get your specific questions answered >>> https://nyhemplab.wildapricot.org/Events — Sorry, we won’t be able to cover all these details in this short session
01:10:13 Jason Klimek: If you’d like to connect or discuss further, please feel free to email me at jklimek@boylancode.com or on LinkedIn
01:10:35 Jim T.: 2 friends:  one has his mom going through stage 4 pancreatic cancer treatments and not on any pharmaceutical pain meds, due to canibas. Second, breast cancer patient, our friend’s wife, has pain to her bones due to chemo. Again, cannabis options, not a just a cannabis pill which doesn’t work, should be an option.
01:11:25 Jim T.: @Zack Ellis (theirstory.io), our Upstate NY Farmers are ready to support as one of the most fertile growing bread baskets in all of the U.S.
01:11:44 tseymour: GREAT JOB!!!
01:12:04 davids: My farm is available, currently producing hemp 🙂
01:12:14 Rochester Contemporary Art Center: Informative conversation!! Thank you!
01:12:15 davids: Thanks everyone.
01:12:15 Bill Sauer: Well done, thanks!
01:12:38 Jim T.: Excellent meeting.  Thank you. Good to see you all!  Take care, stay positive & test negative!
01:12:42 ROC2025-Barb Egenhofer: Thank you everyone!!
01:12:48 Naveen Havannavar: thank you Roc Growth team!
01:12:49 Shreeram Shrivastava: Best wishes to this important opportunity. Ram
01:12:49 Steve Nicosia: Very informative and educational.   Thanks Zack & Jason!
01:12:58 ghaas: thank you everyone for a very informative conversation!
01:13:00 Sarah Clark: thank you for this!
01:13:01 Josh Creager: 730am Wednesday mornings: Josh Creager is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.Topic: ROCC, Virtual Meetup
Time: This is a recurring meeting Meet anytimeJoin Zoom Meeting
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01:13:06 Kathy Driscoll: Thank you!
01:13:26 Jeff Welcher Media: My content creation services are available to RocGrowth but admittedly I’d be duplicating services from Cooley. https://g.page/Jeff-Welcher-Media
01:13:47 Ada Denise: thank you

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RocGrowth’s Coffee and Candid events empower the new Rochester, showcase our communities' leading innovators and entrepreneurs, instigate creative collisions and promote social equity.

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RocGrowth Candids and RocGrowth Coffee are produced on alternating months and feature interviews with leading entrepreneurs and presentations by local innovators.

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