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Company Seeks Fulton County Medical Marijuana Facility

Picture of marijuana plant

Another company in the Southern Adirondack region has introduced plans to open a facility to grow and distribute medical marijuana.

Empire State Health Solutions has unveiled its plans to begin producing cannabis-derived medications at an industrial park in the Fulton County town of Perth. Under New York’s Compassionate Care Act signed in 2014, medical marijuana cannot be smoked and must be distributed in other forms.

Companies must also meet strict security requirements.

Founder and CEO Dr. Kyle Kingsley said if the company is awarded one of the five licenses to be issued in New York, it could begin production and distribution to meet the January 1st 2016 deadline.

Kingsley said Empire State Health Solutions’ sister company, Minnesota Medical Solutions, is already producing and distributing cannabis-derived medications in a state with very similar medical marijuana laws to New York.

“So Minnesota Medical Solutions has been working in that environment and they have all these ideas, all these solutoins that are already developed that are immediately applicable   in New York. So the New York team can take all these ideas, all these systems, and really hit the ground running.”

Empire State Health Solutions joins other hopefuls in the region. Company Etain wants to operate a facility in Warren County. Company Compassionate Relief Centers is preparing a site in Washington County.

Empire State Health Solutions COO Michael Newel said the company was seeking to open in a central location. Newell said it wasn’t long before he considered the Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center.

“Having grown up in Galway and Amsterdam, I was well aware of the unemployment rate in Fulton and Montgomery County and starting thinking that was pretty centrally located and was there a place where we could site the facility there. And as I started looking at that the Tryon Technology Park popped up.”

The Tryon site used to be a juvenile correctional facility. Through Empire State Development, the site was transferred to the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency at no cost in 2012.

Empire State Health Solutions would be the Tryon site’s first tenant. Ralph Ottuso, chair of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors, said the company would give an economic boost to the area.

“We lost almost 300 jobs when Tryon shut down, and so it’s nice to see that…we took that site that the state graciously gave us, and turned it into 260 acres of shovel-ready industrial sites for people like this company to come in and set up shop,” said Ottuso.

Ottuso said the county’s marketing strategy for the Tryon site includes targeting medical and pharmaceutical companies.

“I think what it’s going to do is it’s going to open up the doors. Other people are going to see how welcoming Fulton County is to business and follow suit and bring in their businesses into that new Tryon Industrial Park.”

The company has already gotten approval from Fulton County and the Town of Perth. Empire State Health Solutions intends to operate on 20 acres and create 75 jobs if awarded a license.

The deadline for companies to submit applications for a license is June 5th.

Lucas Willard is a reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011.
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