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'Do what we do best:' Women owned cannabis dispensary opens in Tonawanda

Puffalo Dreams Owners Bee Daungtavilay (left) and Jamie Donato-Ramirez
Thomas O'Neil-White
Puffalo Dreams Owners Bee Daungtavilay (left) and Jamie Donato-Ramirez

The first all-women-owned, adult-use cannabis dispensary on Niagara Falls Boulevard in the Town of Tonawanda held its grand opening Friday, the first day of Women’s History month.

For Bee Daungtavilay and Jamie Donato-Rivera, owners of Puffalo Dreams, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

“What a better way to celebrate it than March 1, Women’s History month,” Daungtavilay said of the grand opening. “We are celebrating history. We're celebrating the mark of a woman owned dispensary, the first in Tonawanda. And we're glad to be here, very blessed.”

It was a tough road for Daungtavilay to get to this place but through New York State’s Conditional Adult-Use Retail Dispensary (CAURD) she saw through the haze and the pursuit of her dreams became clearer.

“CAURD is licensees who have been convicted of some form of marijuana offense,” she said. “Whether it be possession, a state offense. And they released that to allow people who have been convicted of it, the opportunity to make it right. So yes, it's a lot of regulations. But we are doing what we have to do to make this a successful launch. And I think New York State has been doing a great job in allowing us to forefront the industry.”

And Puffalo Dreams is now a dream come true for Daungtavilay.

Thomas O'Neil-White

“It was definitely meant for us,” she said of the dispensary. “That's why we are here. So, it's a great opportunity to bring on the cannabis market and allow us to do what we do best, which is sell cannabis.”

And Daungtavilay has words of advice for anyone looking to get in the cannabis dispensary business.

“Never give up,” she said. “There's always going to be hurdles, there's always going to be things that you have to jump over. Rules, regulations, paperwork, a lot of paperwork. Just be patient and be around the right people and the right support and you can definitely look at the brighter side and be patient and you will definitely get there.”

Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Thomas moved to Western New York at the age of 14. A graduate of Buffalo State College, he majored in Communications Studies and was part of the sports staff for WBNY. When not following his beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats and Boston Red Sox, Thomas enjoys coaching youth basketball, reading Tolkien novels and seeing live music.
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