SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Sunday marked the opening day for the Cannabis Growers Showcase in the Spa City.
From noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays and Tuesdays at the lower level of the City Center Parking Garage farmers will be present selling flower and pre-rolled cigarettes, as well as one certified cannabis processor selling cannabis-related infused products — such as edibles and beverages.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Scot Trifilo. “We’re able to put this together, the farmers are able to interact with the customers so the customers get to know the farmers and know where their small batch craft cannabis is coming from.”
Trifilo, who has been a land developer and a builder in Saratoga Springs for 23 years and in the legal cannabis industry since 2014, started talking with city leaders in late May about the possibility of a cannabis grower showcase in the city and after discussing it and sharing his vision he got the city’s blessing was able to lease the space at the city center parking garage for it to come to life.
This is an opportunity many vendors were excited to jump on, including Nick Polsinelli, a co-owner of Sugarhouse Farms. Polsinelli expressed it is incredible that so many people in the City Government were so supportive of the showcase and how beneficial it is for consumers.
“Without the leadership of the city, we wouldn’t be here right now and I commend the leadership and the city for providing a safe space to allow us to sell cannabis products to New Yorkers,” Polsinelli said. “I think that should be what it’s all about, providing a safe environment and providing safe access to consumers, and this is exactly that.
“With the support of the city, we’re allowed to be here and I think that it’s important for us to be here to fight that stigma, and to continue to because there’s no better way to destigmatize, than educating consumers directly. This is an opportunity for consumers to meet the producers behind New York’s first legal cannabis products and so I think with that, it’s much needed.
“It’s education-based, and it’s critical to the overall program.”
The event itself was eye-opening for vendors like Brian Benner, a Saratoga local selling Altua Cannabis Seltzers at the showcase, who were blown away by the amount of people who came out to support.
“It’s great to actually get out in front of the customers, to talk to them and show them our products instead of just going through a second party,” Benner said. “It has been nice to meet them, to talk to them face to face about the product and have direct contact.
Visitors to the showcase have a chance to peruse the booths set up, talk to the farmers and then place their order at the dispensary table before getting their receipt and going to pick up their purchases.
Don Andrews, the founder of Upstate Canna Co. who was the dispensary on-site, shared he had been working with Trifilo since 2018 and formed a close relationship. According to him Trifilo has been talking about getting something set up in Saratoga for a while and shared it was awesome to see it all come together.
“This is all to help the farms out, there are not many dispensaries open and these guys are struggling a little bit,” Andrews shared. “It means a lot, and we need the support from local municipalities. If they (Saratoga Springs city government) weren’t on board, if they didn’t opt-in for cannabis sales then we wouldn’t be able to do this.
“It’s tough to find spots that are cannabis friendly and the municipalities are cool with it, it’s a good thing.”
The support from city leaders is something that vendors across the board appreciate.
Many members from the city council were in attendance including Saratoga Springs Mayor Ron Kim, Commissioner of Finance Minita Sanghvi, Commissioner of Public Works Jason Golub and Commissioner of Accounts Dillon Moran. One sentiment Kim shared was the Spa City has been the August place to be, but he was excited for it to become the cannabis place to be.
“I think it’s great that Saratoga is getting into this, There have only been a few of these to date and it’s great that we can do this kind of market in Saratoga because we’re obviously such a magnet for people,” Kim said. “I was just talking to some of the people who are really from all parts of the state, and that’s the other part of this.
“It’s the local growers and businesses that we are encouraging.”
The showcase is set to run until Dec. 31, and If there was one thing Trifilo wants those who aren’t so familiar with the showcase or cannabis as a whole to do it would be to come out and learn.
“Come meet New York’s cannabis farmers,” Trifilo said. “Saratoga Springs is a very open and progressive city. They have been welcoming to us right from the first day I went to them to make it happen. There is a stigma and that’s what we are here for. We want people to know they can come in, look around and talk to farmers, buy some safe tested products and have a good time.”
This content was originally published here.