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New York Chooses The Five Businesses To Receive Medical Marijuana License

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The New York Department of Health today named the five companies granted licenses to manufacture and dispense medical marijuana across the state. As WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports, several have strong ties to our region.
    
There were 43 applicants for the five licenses to produce medical marijuana in New York.  The Health Department has selected Bloomfield Industries Inc to manufacture in Queens County and dispense in Nassau, Onondaga and Erie counties;  Columbia Care NY LLC to manufacture in Monroe County and dispense in New York, Suffolk, Clinton and Monroe counties;  Empire State Health Solutions to manufacture in Fulton County and dispense in Broome, Albany, Westchester and Queens counties; Etain LLC to manufacture in Warren County and dispense in Albany, Ulster, Westchester, and Onondaga counties, and PharmaCann LLC to manufacture in Orange County and dispense in the Bronx, Erie, Onondaga and Albany counties.

Empire State Health Solutions ranked second in the weighted scoring.  CEO Dr. Kyle Kingsley says their manufacturing facility will be in the Tryon Technology Park in the Fulton County town of Perth.  “I come to it as a physician. These patients that have had life transforming changes based on the medicine.  This is the right side of history. We are not cannabis flag wavers. We don’t think it can live up to the hype. But I have to tell you the magnificent transformation in some of these kids I’ve seen in Minnesota and elsewhere with just a little bit of CBD is truly remarkable. There’s nobody who can deny some of these benefits that we’re seeing with these patients.”

Etain LLC Chief Operating Officer and co-owner Hillary Peckham says their building permit is ready for and they are looking forward to moving ahead.   “We will be in Warren County in the Town of Chester in the Adirondack Park.  This whole effort was also an economic development effort to create jobs in the North Country and the Adirondack Park.  We actually are in an interesting position where there are no patients registered in New York State.  So we are unsure exactly how much we need to grow. But what’s great about the areas that we chose is that we can expand to meet program needs.”

Plattsburgh based North Country Roots failed in its bid to obtain a medical marijuana manufacturing and dispensing license.  President Doug Butdorf declined to be recorded, saying he is disappointed but happy for those who won licenses.  Butdorf is concerned about how the decision will impact North Country patients.  He told WAMC that, while the state can say that the region is adequately covered,  the dispensary sites will  mean significant drives and some hardship for patients.  

Kingsley of Empire State Health Solutions is also a principal with Minnesota Medical Solutions.  He likes New York’s strategy to implement a medical marijuana program.   “The main reason it’s a good solution to have a few manufacturers is because the state can monitor them adequately. The minute you start adding more manufacturers you slide toward the Colorado or California model which is basically the Wild West.  New York’s looking for something different.  They’re looking for this to be real medication for patients that’s derived on a pharmaceutical principle and not just so many of them that the state can’t keep control. So I’m a big fan of the limited number of manufacturers.”

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