By almost all metrics, New York’s cannabis market rollout should be in the final innings. The state began handing out growing licenses to more than 200 farms last spring and farmers have since sowed seeds, tended to rows of plants all summer, and just in the last few weeks, finished harvesting. Now, hundreds of thousands of pounds of weed — worth hundreds of millions of dollars — is ready to be sold at dispensaries.
There’s one hitch: Instead of being shipped to retail stores, the weed is just piling up. Though a rampant gray market is already up and running, not one legal recreational dispensary has yet opened in New York, despite the state regulator’s repeated assurances that cannabis stores would be a fixture by the end of this year.