Veteran Turns To Tara to help secure role in NY's budding cannabis industry

It's an exciting time for some cannabis entrepreneurs ahead of the state's selection on who will open the first marijuana dispensaries - but not for everyone. 
One local veteran Turned to Tara in the hope of getting a better chance of securing a role in New York's budding cannabis industry. 
Carmine Fiore knows it will be difficult to be first in line to open a dispensary in the state because he has a clean record. 

Unlike 19 other states that have legalized recreational marijuana in the U.S., only applicants with past marijuana-related convictions will get the first chance to sell it in New York. 
However, Fiore, who suffered an injury in 2016 that brought his military career as an Army combat medic to an abrupt halt, has battled and won his personal war with drugs. 
"Painkillers were fed to me, which created you know, a habit," he says. 
He also overdosed on heroin, which required six units of Narcan. A smashed-up car was the casualty of his 14th overdose, which also landed him in the ICU again. 
"I was in the beginning of multi-organ system failure. And through the grace of God, I pulled through and I finally decided that I needed to change something. And my friend said why don't you try cannabis, and you know, I took it as a joke. And believe it or not, just turned off that addiction switch in my brain. It still amazes me to this day," he says. 
Three years into his recovery and back on the job with the FDNY, Fiore says a new fight is fueling him as he struggles to secure a role in New York's budding cannabis industry. 
The legislation for the first 150 conditional retail dispensary licenses that will be issued in the coming weeks was intended by lawmakers to serve as a catalyst for social justice, making up for some of the damage done to communities, mainly of color, during the decadeslong war on drugs. Fiore says veterans deserve a seat at the table, too. 
"We're always ignored. We're never represented. We do have a place in the cannabis industry, a lot of service members left their neighborhoods because they were either going to be a victim of the war on drugs, you were going to go to jail or they were going to die. So, they had no other choice but to choose the military.  There's still victims of the war on drugs and we still deserve representation in cannabis," he says. 

That's why Fiore decided to Turn To Tara in hope that more people who hear his story will give veterans like himself a chance to be included in the next round of licenses being issued sometime next year. 
Fiore also said that the Cannabis advisory board in New York has members who represent women and minorities, but there were no representations of veterans on that board.
The Office of Cannabis Management responded with a statement saying the new laws place a priority on equity applicants, which "includes serve-disabled and veteran-owned businesses."