The Student News Site of Ithaca College

Ithaca Week

Ithaca Week

Ithaca Week

Finger Lakes residents gather to reframe cannabis stigma

The Finger Lakes CannaMarket returned to Ithaca to continue to celebrate the legalization of cannabis in New York State and promote local businesses.

Attendees of the Finger Lakes CannaMarket check out vendors’ tables. | Source: Eva Salzman

Despite its legalization in New York State in March 2021, misinformation and stigma continue to cloud the culture surrounding cannabis — but the Finger Lakes CannaMarket wants to change that.
On Nov. 26, The Cherry Arts was filled with Finger Lakes residents and New York State cannabis and CBD-affiliated businesses and services for the Finger Lakes CannaMarket. Since September 2021, the pop-up market has worked to destigmatize cannabis by providing a healthy and safe environment for attendees to learn about and celebrate cannabis.
Achieving equity through the future of local cannabis businesses
The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) enacted in March 2021 allows adults above the age of 21 to possess up to three ounces of cannabis or 24 grams of concentrated cannabis for recreational use. Those 21 years-old and above are permitted to use cannabis products recreationally — which they can also give to others who meet the age requirement. Though medical cannabis sales are currently legal, officials must first establish regulations before recreational sales are permitted.
Business owner Foxy Goldstone sold handmade resin jewelry at the market. Buyers could also grab one of Goldstone’s cannabis-infused baked goods samples if they chose to. Though Goldstone does not currently charge for these cannabis-infused goods, she is building an email list of interested patrons to update them on cannabis events and business development.
“As of right now I give out free samples and help promote other local growers,” Goldstone said.
A large aspect of the market was giving local growers a space to promote their businesses, so when they are able to sell cannabis for recreation, they have a base of customers. This is made possible by the MRTA’s goal of achieving social equity in the cannabis business sector.
The legal enforcement of cannabis sales and usage has historically disproportionately affected people of color. One of the goals of the MRTA was to ensure “those harmed are given an equitable chance to participate and thrive in the legal New York cannabis industry,” according to the NYS Office of Cannabis Management. The office writes that this is to begin to repair the “decades of disproportionate enforcement and over-criminalization of cannabis prohibition, especially in Black and Brown communities.”
Kenneth McLaurin, one of the CannaMarket organizers, said the permittance of recreational cannabis sales will allow himself and other consumers to support more local growers.
“I feel like it’s an opportunity to give the people who have been providing folks like me cannabis for all of my life the opportunity to grow in this space,” McLaurin said.”I don’t want to buy cannabis from anybody new. I want to support the people who’ve been there so far.
Stephen Knarich, owner of Lifted Infusions, sets up his table of cannabis-infused baked goods and cannabis-infused milk at the CannaMarket. | Source: Eva Salzman
One aspect of misinformation surrounding cannabis is its relation to CBD. The active ingredient in cannabis is THC, which causes the effects of the plant. Cannabis also contains CBD, but unlike THC, CBD lacks the psychoactive effects that THC has.
Your CBD Store manager Kate Brown represented the locally-owned business at the market and said the stigma surrounding cannabis has created a popular misconception about CBD.
“Everyone assumed [CBD] would get you high,” Brown said. “So even today people ask me, ‘is CBD going to get me high?’ and I have to explain that no, it’s two completely different things.”
Medicinal cannabis use

A budding community
McLaurin said one of the ways he hopes to destigmatize cannabis is to foster a community in which people feel comfortable having open conversations about cannabis.
“I hope they leave knowing that there’s a space that they can go to and feel safe talking about cannabis and learning about and celebrating cannabis,” McLaurin said.
Goldstone said she enjoys seeing people connect over cannabis.
“When some people that have probably smoked for a long time in shame walk in here, they almost shed a tear because they’re so happy that they’re able to be in an accepting environment,” Goldstone said.
Leave a Comment
Donate to Ithaca Week

Your donation will support the student journalists of Ithaca College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Ithaca Week

Comments (0)

All Ithaca Week Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *