Medical marijuana may sprout on vacant Syracuse industrial site

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Medical marijuana may sprout on vacant Syracuse industrial site
credit:Syracuse.com

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – A vacant industrial site in the town of Geddes may become home to Onondaga County’s first medical marijuana growing operation.

Terradiol New York, a Syracuse company authorized this week by the state to grow marijuana in Onondaga County, won’t say where it will locate its proposed plant.

But in an application submitted to the state two years ago, the company, also known as New York Canna, revealed plans to grow and process marijuana at 241 Farrell Road in a nearly 200,000-square-foot building on a site formerly occupied by General Electric and Syroco Inc. The property is owned by Widewaters Farrell Rd II Co LL, county records show. The medical marijuana company said in its application it planned to lease the site.

James Laurenzo of Pyramid Brokerage, the leasing agent for the site, said the Geddes location is one of several properties Terradiol is considering.

On its website, the company lists Dennis DuVal, Syracuse’s former police chief, as its president and chief operating officer, and Syracuse University football legend Floyd Little as an adviser.

In its 2015 application the company said it picked the site because of its central location and proximity to Route 690 and the state Thruway.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and Robert Simpson, president of Centerstate Corporation for Economic Development, wrote letters two years ago to Gov. Andrew Cuomo endorsing the project. In her letter, Mahoney said the proposed operation would create 60 to 70 jobs.

In a prepared statement released Thursday, John Vavalo, chairman and CEO of Terradiol, said: “We are immediately commencing construction of our state of

the art cultivation facility, which will be located in Onondaga County.”

Vavalo, co-owner of J. Michael Shoes on Marshall Street near SU, said the company would release information about the location “in the weeks to come.”

Jerry Albrigo, Geddes town supervisor, said he does not know if the company is still interested in the Farrell Road site. “It could be an economic boost for the area,” he said.

The company’s application was rejected two years ago when the state picked five companies out of 43 applicants to grow and distribute the drug. New York launched its medical marijuana program last year.

But the state recently decided to authorize five more medical marijuana companies to improve access to the drug and drum up more competition. It picked Terradiol and four other companies that just missed the cut in 2015.

The New York Medical Cannabis Industry Association, acting on behalf of four of the five original medical marijuana companies, sued the state in April to try to stop it from issuing new licenses. It argued that opening the door to more companies would hurt the industry because there is not enough demand yet for medical marijuana.

But the state says demand has grown significantly since it allowed patients with chronic pain to qualify for medical marijuana in March. Since then the number of New York patients certified for the drug has grown from 14,7992 to 25,736, a 72 percent increase.

The proposed locations of Terradiol’s medical marijuana dispensaries have changed since it filed its application in 2015. Initially it planned to put them in East Syracuse, Yonkers, Binghamton and Albany.

The company now plans to open dispensaries in Erie, Orange, Queens and Suffolk counties, according to the state.

There are already three dispensaries in Onondaga County operated by other companies.

Oneida County is expected to get its first dispensary operated by Valley Agriceuticals, another new medical marijuana company authorized by the state this week. That company plans to grow marijuana in Orange County.

credit:syracuse.com

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