As legal conditional adult-use retail dispensary (CAURD) licenses begin to roll out throughout New York state, it’s creating more conversation about the growth of New York’s cannabis industry. 

Saturday marked Rochester’s second Catch a Contact cannabis career summit, a series started by New York State Cannabis Connect last year to create networking opportunities for individuals throughout the cannabis industry. 

“Instead of doing a job fair, we thought we’d do a summit where we could offer people opportunities that maybe supported cannabis, or like the cultivators that were licensed, but then also start sparking interest,” said the CEO and co-founder of New York State Cannabis Connect Tiffany Walters.

The career summit has been held throughout the state in the past year, but Walters has lived in Rochester all her life.

“I was really passionate about making sure that my community, which is one of the communities most impacted, Rochester our city, that they knew they weren’t left behind,” she said. “That they knew there were pathways and that there were opportunities and if they wanted to be involved that they could."

But for her, the idea of cultivating the cannabis community hits even closer to home.

“I have a son and I don’t want him to get caught up in the negative things that are going on in the city,” Walters said. “I want him to be able to have opportunity and I think cannabis will provide opportunity through the tax revenue.”

The career summit highlights all of the different job opportunities within the industry outside of plant-touching jobs people normally think of like dispensaries and retail

“But they don’t really think about distribution, or administration or marketing security,” she said. “And most New Yorkers have those skill sets now.”

It’s an opportunity to show New Yorkers how they can bring the skill sets they already have into the cannabis industry.

“We have over 65,000 jobs that are expected to come from cannabis, you know,” she said. “And how are we going to get prepared without events like this where people are able to connect and start talking about where those opportunities lie.”

It’s something Walters said is important in the future of cannabis.

“It’s imperative that we have a strong industry so that we can have a strong impact,” she said.

To stay connected and educated on the growing industry, you can find a list of legal dispensaries, distributers and processors along with local resources like the Department of Labor or the library’s hemp lab at New York Cannabis Connect’s General Resource and Access Map (GRAM) at