ITHACA, NY — As the state continues to work on legislation for the sale of cannabis, some people have found a creative workaround in the meantime. On February 26, the Ithaca CannaMarket arrives at the LakeWatch Inn. It will feature local exhibitors covering all aspects of cannabis cultivation and industry. Guests will pay $20 for tickets in advance or $25 at the door and can taste and obtain products from the state’s cannabis, CBD and hemp industry. Tompkins County Sheriff Derek Osborne said that because there are no direct sales of cannabis, the event is legal and he does not expect the sheriff’s office to be present at the event.
According to event organizer Kenneth McLaurin, the CannaMarket is a “pop-up social experience” intended to “provide people who love cannabis the opportunity and space to come together and have fun in a social setting.” .
There have already been two previous pop-ups. In September they hosted the Finger Lakes Music, Comedy and Cannabis Festival in Spencer, and in December there was a pop-up in Binghamton as a hotel. McLaurin said both of these projects were a great success and said it brought out the diversity of Tompkins County.
“There were people representing the city of Ithaca, the greater Ithaca area, the more rural areas,” he said. “It was a really good turnout with a diverse group of people.”
McLaurin noted that it’s no secret that people have been using cannabis for both medical and recreational purposes for years, but due to its ban, there has been no public space for people get together and talk about it.
“They weren’t able to have a conversation and educate themselves to learn all of the therapeutic uses of marijuana,” he said. [The pop-ups] are a good way to learn about different strains and effects. It’s a way for cannabis consumers to learn more, and it’s a good entry point for curious but hesitant people.
Entry fees go to support the event, and then in-house businesses can gift or provide people with samples, including edibles, plants, flowers, extracts, glass, and more.
“Once you’re inside, there are plenty of opportunities to get marijuana that are within the law,” McLaurin said.
McLaurin also said he hopes events like this will end the stigma of people who use cannabis.
“We want to put an end to misinformation about the factory. People are used to consuming it secretly at home and we are looking over our shoulders,” he said. “We’re trying to end that stigma, so we want to do everything really legally. We do not sell. No one will sell marijuana.
He described the event as a farmers’ market where there is only one harvest.
“There will also be CBD vendors selling and cannabis-adjacent businesses,” McLaurin said. “There will be people selling glass and t-shirts and edibles and juices and creams and rubs. That’s the most interesting thing about it – all the other ways people use cannabis.
McLaurin said he was grateful to have found a place like LakeWatch Inn to make it accessible to many people in the area, and said he hoped it would have a positive impact on the area.
“We want to try to bring like-minded people together by hosting healthy and safe events, so they can learn about cannabis and celebrate its legalization,” he said.
To attend CannaMarket, you must be 18 or older, and you must be 21 or older to accept samples of smoking products. For more information or to buy a ticket, visit https://ithacacannamarket.bpt.me.