Niagara County votes in favor of medical marijuana crop


LEWISTON, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Niagara County Legislature passed a resolution that will sow the seeds of a new bumper crop–medical marijuana. The measure supports a greenhouse in the Town of Lewiston for growing, processing, and selling marijuana for medicinal purposes only.

A 14-0 vote by the Niagara County Legislature nods a hat to the cavernous 12-acre greenhouse operated by H2Gro, which is growing hydroponic tomatoes now, and if approved by the state, co-owner Gary Smith said the greenhouse would be converted to grow marijuana.

“Then we will process that cannabis, and make oils, extract it with CO2–extraction make oils–and those oils would go into products that would be distributed to patients under a defined dosage,” Smith said.

H2Gro is one of the largest greenhouse operations in Western New York, but Smith says government regulations and safety concerns would dictate going to all marijuana, and the competition for a state license is intense.

“There’s a lot of companies coming from out-of-state who have cannabis facilities teaming up with some investors in-state. We expect it to be a very competitive process,” said Smith.

Niagara County lawmakers say there is a need for medical marijuana, and a pot growing operation would also benefit the county economically. North Tonawanda legislator Kathy Lance is one of the co-sponsors of the resolution.

“I am a breast cancer survivor, myself, so I have gone through that pain of the chemotherapy and the neuropathy, and just the general paid of going through chemotherapy, ” Lance said.

Niagara Falls legislator Dennis Virtuoso says it is crucial that the county and the Town of Lewiston, which has sent letters to Albany decision makers, show their support.

“There is only going to be 5 facilities, and they are not going to put them in an area that does not want them. So these letters of support and these resolutions are very important in the choosing of the location,” Virtuoso said.

State officials are aiming at a January, 2016 launch of medical marijuana production in New York.

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