Columbia Care cannabis dispensary in Rochester temporarily closes after OCM denies waiver – syracuse.com

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Columbia Care, one of the state’s medical cannabis companies, has closed its Rochester dispensary for nearly a week after the Office of Cannabis Management denied the company a waiver to operate with a virtual pharmacist.

The closure affects roughly 750 patients and comes after the company found itself with a shortage of pharmacists caused by a mixture of unexpected medical and parental leaves and vacations.

In response, the NY Medical Cannabis Industry Association – which represents the interests of nearly all of the state’s registered organizations – issued a statement:

“Once again, New York’s cannabis regulators have shown a complete lack of consideration for medical patients, leaving them in a potentially vulnerable and precarious position. The temporary closure of Columbia Care’s Rochester dispensary poses serious threats to those who depend on this specific location for access to essential medications and sends a troublesome message to all patients and medical operators statewide.”

OCM spokesperson Aaron Ghitelman told NY Cannabis Insider that waivers for virtual pharmacists aren’t allowed under the MRTA or by OCM.

“If an emergency absence leaves a medical dispensary without an on-site pharmacist,

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