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Inside “The Lab,” a Cannabis Dispensary in the Cattaraugus Territory


The Lab is a legal cannabis dispensary located on the Cattaraugus Indian Territory in Irving, New York. Comprised of almost 22,000 acres in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, and Erie counties, the Cattaraugus Territory is located along the Cattaraugus Creek stretching from Gowanda to Lake Erie. 

Michael Jesimer started The Lab two and half years ago, shortly after New York legalized cannabis for adults 21 and older. But Jesimer wasn’t the only one aiming to capitalize on the opportunity to sell cannabis tax-free on sovereign land. Soon, many other dispensaries opened up in territories belonging to the Seneca Nation of Indians. 

Jesimer said that he recognized early on that competition would be fierce. “Marketing is what it’s all about now,” he remarked. He enlisted the help of his fiance, Heidi John, who previously managed marketing for the Cattaraugus Community Center. The couple started the store with just $10,000 and have grown the nimble operation into a multi-million dollar retail cannabis business in less than three years.

Their offerings are many, and their prices are unmatched. 

When you first enter the lab, you’re drawn to a sprawling display of cannabis flower of countless varieties. The flower on display is available for customers to smell, touch, and inspect before purchasing. These glass displays are refrigerated and were purchased from an old candy store nearby and outfitted with humidifiers to help keep the flower fresh. 

The concept for the store is simple; give customers all the options they could ever want at an affordable price. While flower is the focus of the main displays, two smaller displays highlight vast selections of concentrates and edible products. 

One of their most popular items is their “Connoisseurs mix box”, a tailor-made kit of three different types of concentrates. They also have an infused smoothie machine that’s proven to be a popular add-on item for many costumers. 

The Lab’s logo is a version of Frankenstein and this theme is seen throughout the dispensary’s interior. Classic horror movie posters such as Dracula, Wolfman, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon can be seen throughout the shop. Life-size mannequins of Dracula and Frankenstein also stand by, ready to lend a helping hand when staff are too busy assisting their customers. 

Showing true pride for the 716, the lab even has a dedicated Bills section offering apparel and autographed memorabilia. 

Heidi handles all of the store’s day-to-day operations and says that running the store has been quite the adventure.

One of her key initiatives after coming on board was setting up online ordering through Leafly is the world’s largest cannabis website and connects dispensaries to customers online, allowing them to place orders for in-store pickup. 

The Lab does a large portion of their business through Leafly which helps reduce traffic at the dispensary by allowing products to be selected ahead of time. 

Recently, they updated the packaging of their edible products. “We’re phasing out packaging that’s appealing to kids and rolling out our new brand called Toxic.” The name, Toxic, is meant to deter children. 

The Lab’s main claim to fame is their affordability. Home of the $30 ounce, they offer a wide variety of cannabis products that will undoubtedly satisfy any consumer. 


Visit The Lab:

10924 Old Lake Shore Rd, Irving, NY 14081

Open 7 days a week 8am-11pm

Call ahead or order online +1-716-549-0892


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