Broadalbin hemp processor among first to earn cannabis license
The Veterans Hemp Market in Broadalbin, Fulton County has been open for about four years. Their budding business is about to soar even higher.
As hemp processors, Jason and Sonja Ambrosino sell creams, balms, oils, and all things CBD for customers dealing with everything from anxiety to aches and pains.
It’s all been legal as long as the level of THC — that’s the chemical that gets you high — was below 0.3. However, the recipe is about to change.
The Ambrosinos have one of New York’s first 15 licenses for adult-use cannabis products. With this license, the 0.3 THC limit is out.
Once dispensaries open, marijuana for fun will be very much in.
“The selections and the things that are going to be available to you are going to be greater on the recreational side of things simply because of the mere size of what the market is going to be,” Jason said.
His reasons for getting into this industry are very personal. The Army vet served 10 years in Iraq. After being caught in a tank explosion, he came home with back and neck injuries, chronic pain, and a boatload of painkiller prescriptions that left him feeling like a zombie.
“I wasn’t getting to where I wanted to get. Especially coming out of the Army, I’m either going to sit back, and I’m going to be a disabled vet, and I’m going to collect money for the rest of my life, which is not me, or I have to figure something else out,” Jason said.
Hoping for a Game-Changer
From a regulatory perspective, the terms cannabis and marijuana are interchangeable. Whatever you call it, the recreational market is poised to explode. The state is expected to cash in on licensing fees and the taxes.
The governor’s own budget estimates New York will generate more than $1.25 billion in revenue over the next six years. The goal is to issue at least half of all cannabis licenses to businesses in high-crime neighborhoods, distressed farmers, and women-owned or veteran-owned businesses.
Marijuana sales could be a game-changer for struggling local economies that desperately need a boost, including Fulton County.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had industry or anybody to come in and really put permanent businesses there,” Jason said. “And that’s exactly what’s going to happen as these craft businesses expand. You’re going to see these neighborhoods grow and improve.”
Even before recreational marijuana became legal, a 2020 state survey shows it was already seeing lots of use in New York.