Fulton County

Region lands one marijuana facility

Empire State Health Solutions’ medical marijuana facility in Fulton County is ready to hit the groun
Medical marijuana clone plants are shown at a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif., in this 2001 photo.
Medical marijuana clone plants are shown at a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, Calif., in this 2001 photo.

Empire State Health Solutions’ medical marijuana facility in Fulton County is ready to hit the ground running as one of the state’s five licensed medical marijuana producers announced Friday by the state Department of Health.

The business, which has a sister company already producing medical marijuana in Minnesota, has set up shop in Fulton County’s Tryon Technology Park. CEO Kyle Kingsley said recently that the facility would be able to begin growing plants within 48 hours of being granted a license.

“We are extremely pleased by New York state’s decision to award Empire State Health Solutions a license to produce cannabis-based medications at the Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center in Fulton County,” Kingsley stated Friday. “Empire State Health Solutions is proud of our patient-focused, scientific process that will help many New Yorkers suffering from chronic and terminal illnesses. We are ready to start production immediately, and are confident that we will meet the state’s deadline and be ready to serve patients in January.”

The other four licenses went to Bloomfield Industries in Queens County; Columbia Care NY LLC in Monroe County; Etain LLC in Warren County; and PharmaCann LLC in Orange County. In addition to the manufacturing facilities, each company will have four dispensaries throughout the state, with three planned for Albany County.

Empire State Health Solutions’ application scored second among the 43 companies that applied for the licenses. PharmaCann took the No.  1 spot, with less than one point difference.

In a news release, state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker called the licensing “a major milestone in the implementation of New York State’s Medical Marijuana Program,” which aims to be up and running within 18 months of the passage of the Compassionate Care Act last year.

“I am proud that we are on course to provide certified patients with access to medical marijuana more quickly than any other state in the nation,” Zucker stated. “The five organizations selected for registration today showed, through a rigorous and comprehensive evaluation process, they are best suited to produce and provide quality medical marijuana to eligible New Yorkers in need, and to comply with New York’s strict program requirements.”

5 types of products

Under the program, each company will be allowed to produce five types of medical marijuana products such as liquids and oils for vaporization, capsules and other forms of ingestion other than smoking, which is prohibited. The licenses last for two years, at which point each company will need to apply for renewal.

DOH will independently test the products to ensure consistency, and must approve all pricing and advertising. It has also set forth “rigorous security requirements” for the manufacturing and dispensing facilities, as well as strict guidelines for reporting, product quality and inventory control. DOH can revoke a license if the regulatory requirements are not met.

The Schenectady County town of Glenville was in the running for a grow facility proposed by New York City-based Fiorello Pharmaceuticals. The company, whose application scored seventh, promised to create more than 100 jobs at the Glenville Business and Technology Park.

Another company that didn’t make the cut, Plattsburgh-based North Country Roots, had proposed a dispensary for Clifton Park. The company landed at No.  23 in the scoring.

Empire Medical Solutions has enjoyed the full support of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors and the town of Perth, in which the facility is located, which look to the facility as a source of jobs and an anchor tenant for the fledgling Tryon Technology Park.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Ron Peters, president and CEO of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, which owns the park. “It’s going to open that site up to many more development projects. It’s great news for Fulton County — increasing jobs and development.”

The company plans to invest between $6 million and $8 million in the initial phases of the facility, creating at least 75 new jobs over the next three years. The work will involve renovating an existing building on the site, a former state-run juvenile detention center, and constructing a new building.

The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, in cooperation with the county, began developing the 515-acre park, located just outside the town of Johnstown in the town of Perth, last year with a $2 million Empire State Development Corporation grant. Empire State Health Solutions will be its first tenant.

Kingsley said Friday that the facility will begin growing with a small staff immediately, then build out in phases, starting with the construction of a greenhouse in August.

“We’re just moving ahead full-force with getting ready to get patients medications on January 1,” he said.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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