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A New York Prison Locked Men Up For Drugs. Now the Site Will Grow Marijuana



WARWICK, NY – Until closed a decade ago, a sprawling state prison in this town, northwest of New York City, held men convicted of drug offenses and other crimes.

Now Warwick wants to turn a medium security complex in Orange County into a bustling regional cannabis growing and processing center. Business owners hope to benefit from the state’s move this spring to legalize adult recreational marijuana.

Local officials have recruited seven cannabis-related companies for the Hudson Valley, which is still characterized by reddish brick buildings that at one point held nearly 1,000 men incarcerated. In March, the city of Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries offered tax incentives to purchase 38 acres for a large cultivation and production facility.

Boosters say the new ventures will bring in tax revenues and hundreds of good jobs. But some parents say turning the city into a marijuana manufacturing center could send a message to children condoning drug use. Small growers across the state fear big companies like Green Thumb will drive them out of the market. And even some fans of the project see risks ahead.

Main Street in Warwick. Local leaders have yet to decide whether to allow stores selling recreational marijuana.

“It seems like everyone and his brother and sister want to get on the cannabis train,” said Richard Hull, a Warwick historian. “There will be a lot of competition, but it’s definitely worth the risk.”

In March, New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational marijuana. Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed a bill allowing possession of up to 3 ounces for anyone age 21 and older.

Warwick, a town of around 32,000 people, has quaint village streets and idyllic farms that attract families to apple picking in the fall. The leaders have not yet decided whether to allow retail cannabis stores or lounges for on-site consumption. The new state law states that cities and municipalities can refuse the approval of such pharmacies until December 31st.

Laura Ford, a resident with children aged 15 and 19, described the new cannabis growing hub as a “mixed bag”. She sees benefits for the local economy, but fears increasing the supply of substances that could be a gateway to more drugs for some users. On the other hand, the city has long had alcohol stores, which could lead to alcohol abuse. “It’s not a dry subject,” she said. “But I have teenagers and I don’t like to think about them smoking a pot.”

In the 1930s, the prison served as a state reform school trying to rehabilitate wayward New York boys who looked after vegetables, cows, and chickens. In the late 1970s, the state turned it into the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility for the deluge of people jailed during the national crackdown on drug offenses. It closed in 2011 after the number of men there decreased.

City officials founded the nonprofit Warwick Valley Local Development Corporation and paid the state $ 3.75 million in 2013 for approximately 150 acres of prison. Michael Sweeton, the city manager, said Warwick bought the property to avoid being converted into condos or something undesirable. “We want to control our own destiny,” he said.

The idea of ​​creating a hub for hemp emerged in 2018 when the federal government removed the facility from the list of controlled substances. The city partnered with the Orange County Industrial Development Agency, which provided incentives to attract businesses. Now the former prison has seven ventures tied to a once banned substance, plus a brewery and sports complex.

UrbanXtracts makes cannabidiol (CBD) oil, tinctures and other products. Phyto-Farma Labs LLC is testing cannabis. Citiva Medical LLC is licensed to grow medical marijuana. Three small manufacturers use CBD or hemp: Honey Buz and Farmbody for skin care products and Scripted Fragrance for candles.

“That’s the irony: there were prisoners here for what we do,” said Eran Sherin, founder of urbanXtracts. He said he wanted to hire workers from disadvantaged backgrounds to promote social justice.

Green Thumb CEO Ben Kovler at the company’s Warwick site.

The big newcomer is Green Thumb, who has pledged to invest $ 155 million and create at least 179 jobs over three years. Benefits and salaries start at around $ 50,000. Mr Sweeton said that when Green Thumb’s purchase of approximately $ 3 million worth of real estate completes, as expected this summer, Warwick nonprofit will recoup its cost of buying and repairing the prison grounds.

In a deal approved by the county’s industrial development agency in March, Green Thumb received approximately $ 30 million worth of incentives over 15 years, including sales tax exemptions and property tax reductions. The agency estimated the benefit to the regional economy at $ 285 million over the period.


How is the marijuana industry developing in your community? Join the following conversation.

A 20-minute public hearing on the tax relief was commented on by only one resident. According to a transcript, the man said citizens should have had more opportunities to enter and review the agency’s cost-benefit analysis and more evidence that incentives were needed to attract Green Thumb. The resident could not be reached for comment.

Ben Kovler, managing director of Green Thumb, said Warwick’s welcoming attitude was a key factor in choosing the location. The company, which plans to build a large indoor facility, is licensed to make medical marijuana and is looking to add recreational products where possible. “Going to a place where they don’t want you is a recipe for disaster,” said Kovler.

Small New York growers fear they are being unfairly ousted by Green Thumb and other multistate corporations, said Allan Gandelman, a Cortland County’s cannabis breeder who heads the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association.

Allan Gandelman, smallholder representative, on his farm in Cortland, NY in 2019.


Heather Ainsworth for the Wall Street Journal

Mr Gandelman said growers will need licenses in time to plant a 2022 crop, but the state governor and state legislature have not yet appointed a governing body to set licensing rules for making recreational marijuana. Cuomo administration officials said they expect the board to be selected by the end of the June legislature. The regulations will apply in early 2022, followed by licensing and retail sales in the fall.

Mr Gandelman said that unlike large companies, his small producers cannot afford to expand their infrastructure now in the hopes of obtaining a license. Big companies “are going to have a super duper lead,” he said.

The new marijuana law gives priority to applicants who, according to the governor’s office, have been disproportionately harmed by past enforcement. The law also aims to give half of the licenses to businesses owned by minorities and women, as well as distressed farmers and disabled veterans.

“We’re going to see an open playing field where the smaller operators can really not only compete but thrive,” said Norman Birenbaum, New York’s director of cannabis programs.

“The market is big enough for everyone,” said Green Thumb’s Kovler. “There is enough demand for many entrepreneurs to do well.”

Cannabis companies in the US do not have access to banking and other financial services because the drug is illegal nationwide. This could change with new laws or thanks to wider legalization efforts backed by the democratically controlled Senate. Photo illustration: Laura Kammermann

Write to Leslie Brody at

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THC vs CBD: Differences and Benefits



Editor’s note: This is a guest post.

Cannabis contains more than 100 cannabinoids. However, there are two that are the most important and the most popular. These two cannabinoids differ in their effects and their legal status. We’re talking about THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Each one produces something different and adds to both the sensation marijuana creates and its therapeutic uses. Knowing both connections will help you choose which strain to grow better and what to look for depending on whether you want something recreational or medical. The other components can also affect our body, but are more difficult to isolate and we are less aware of their possible effects.


Cannabidiol (CBD) is the second most common compound in cannabis sativa, but that doesn’t make it any less attractive. CBD has some unique abilities that THC cannot match. It’s also the main ingredient in CBD oil, an increasingly popular wellness supplement. THC is the main component of cannabis sativa. Concentration aside, THC’s fame stems from its psychotropic side effects.

While CBD can affect well-being without major side effects, THC interacts with certain regions of the brain, causing a feeling of euphoria that temporarily affects our thinking and feeling. In other words, CBD does not contain any psychoactive components and will not get you high. Many products used for pain relief or to take care of your skin contain CBD. CBD products, like that purest CBD oil for a healthy lifestyle, are becoming more popular every day. In contrast, THC is the plant’s main psychoactive component.

Benefits of CBD

  1. Pain relieving effect

CBD is found in many products that are used on a daily basis. Soaps, lotions, oils, and other skin care products are highly recommended for pain relief. People who have used these oils or lotions claim that they felt pain almost immediately after using them. Products containing CBD are believed to reduce muscular, chronic pain and painful side effects from chemotherapy and similar therapies.

  1. Reduces anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression affect our mental health and also cause physical disorders. CBD-containing oils are recommended as an alternative treatment for both depression and anxiety. Many users of CBD oils claim that drugs prescribed to treat anxiety and depression have many side effects, while CBD has no known negative effects and works faster than drugs. CBD acts on the brain’s receptors for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and social behavior.

  1. Treats insomnia

When talking about insomnia, there are a few things to consider. CBD-containing oils have a positive effect on insomnia if it is caused by external influences. Drowsiness is a symptom of insomnia. CBD also has a positive effect on drowsiness, which is one of the Causes of insomnia. Thus, it can be said that CBD improves sleep as it combats the causes of insomnia. Research is being carried out to find out how CBD really works as a component in reducing insomnia.

  1. Reduce acne

Acne affects almost 10% of the population. It is a skin condition and sometimes really difficult or even impossible to treat. Based on recent scientific studies, CBD oil may help treat acne because of its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to reduce sebum production.

CBD has many other benefits too, such as: Reduce heart attack Probabilities or anti-tumor effects.

Benefits of THC

The benefits of THC are similar to those of CBD. Some of these effects are pain relief, spasticity treatment, glaucoma, insomnia. It is also believed that the use of THC can help with insomnia and in cases of poor appetite. THC is also used to help with anxiety and nausea. However, when choosing THC, it is very important to keep in mind that THC binds to cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain. It creates a high or a feeling of euphoria (in other words, high).

How to Consume

Some of the most popular ways to consume CBD or THC products are gummy bears, truffles, mint, and other edible items. Edible products depend on taste. Some consumers claim that they cannot tolerate the herbaceous taste of the products.

Another type of consumption is current. These products are applied directly to the skin. The widespread use of CBD in soaps, lotions, and oils has tremendous demand, and that demand is increasing incredibly every year. These topicals provide concentrated relief to a specific area where they are applied.

A popular way to use goods containing cannabis is by vaping and smoking. With this method, the substance enters the bloodstream directly, so that the effect starts almost immediately (you will feel the difference after almost 10 minutes).

There are other options too, such as sublingual products. These products are absorbed under the tongue. They can be in the form of sprays, oils, or lozenges.

Are CBD and THC legal?

Cannabis laws change very often. Many in the United States States already allow the medicinal use of THC Containing products but is still illegal under federal law. Thirty-three states plus Washington, DC have passed cannabis-related laws making medicinal cannabis with high THC content legal. The cannabis may need to be prescribed by a licensed doctor. You should be able to easily purchase products in the states where CBD and THC are legal. In Europe this differs from country to country. Tolerance towards cannabis crime varies enormously from country to country in Europe. This concerns the government’s solution to the legality of products containing CBD.

If you want to use products containing CBD or THC, it is imperative to consult a specialist. Because sometimes these products can have side effects, such as changes in appetite, diarrhea, dry mouth, dizziness or nausea.

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Is CBD oil an effective cancer treatment?



Cannabidiol (CBD) is a compound found in the cannabis plant that can have many potential therapeutic uses. By mixing CBD with a carrier oil, people can make a CBD oil. Although more research is needed, evidence suggests that CBD oil may have some benefit in treating cancer.

While it’s too early to make strong claims about the use of CBD oil to treat cancer, there is evidence that it can help manage symptoms resulting from the disease or its treatment.

Initial results from small-scale and animal studies on cancer cells and CBD oil are promising, but not conclusive. More research is needed to determine how effective CBD oil can be in treating cancer.

A person should always speak to their doctor before using CBD oil to ensure that it is not having any negative interactions with current medications or treatments.

This article provides information on what researchers know about CBD oil and cancer, and how to choose and use CBD oil products.

Is CBD Legal?? Hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3% THC are legal at the federal level, but are still illegal under some state laws. On the other hand, cannabis-derived CBD products are illegal nationwide, but legal under some state laws. Check local laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any over-the-counter CBD products that may be inaccurately labeled.

CBD is one of many phytochemicals contained in the Cannabis sativa (C. sativa) plant. Along with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it is one of the two best-known cannabinoids.

THC is the chemical that creates the “high” that many people associate with cannabis. Showing promise for treating a number of health conditions, CBD is non-debilitating and does not make a person feel high.

Learn more about the differences between CBD and THC here.

To make a CBD oil, manufacturers extract CBD from the C. sativa plant and then mix it with a carrier oil. A common extraction process that manufacturers use is the supercritical carbon dioxide process. This is a clean and inexpensive method that uses heat, pressure, and carbon dioxide to separate CBD from the plant.

Manufacturers then dilute the CBD with a non-toxic oil to make CBD oil. According to the National Cancer Institute, CBD oil typically contains between 1-5% CBD.

While more research is needed to investigate the use of cannabis or cannabinoids as a treatment for cancer, some evidence is promising. In 2016, researchers found that cannabinoids can reduce tumor growth in various types of cancer in test-tube and animal models.

The National Cancer Institute adds that CBD can help increase the absorption or effectiveness of certain drugs that doctors can use to treat cancer.

A 2019 literature review shows that several studies have found that CBD extracts can help reduce cancer cell viability and prevent cancer cells from multiplying.

A 2019 report focusing on pancreatic cancer suggests that cannabinoids may help slow tumor growth, reduce tumor invasion, and induce tumor cell death. A 2014 study also found that CBD could have the potential to inhibit the spread of colon cancer cells.

A 2019 study shows that CBD can promote cell death and make glioblastoma cells more sensitive to radiation. This is in line with a 2014 review that also suggests that cannabinoids may have anti-tumor properties.

However, it’s worth noting that research is still in its infancy. Most of the evidence comes largely from laboratory or animal studies. Therefore, more research and human studies are needed to determine the potential anti-cancer properties of CBD oil.

Studying CBD and its uses as a cancer treatment can also be difficult for ethical reasons. Many studies examining CBD may involve chemotherapy drugs. Hence, it can be difficult to interpret how effective CBD is in treating cancer on its own.

While cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy can be effective in treating cancer, they can lead to a number of side effects. (Most research has looked at the benefits of CBD, although CBD oil can work similarly.)

Some of the cancer side effects that CBD can help reduce include the following:


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved some cannabinoid-containing drugs to reduce the side effects of cancer treatments. Examples include dronabinol and nabilone, synthetic THC drugs that can help reduce nausea.

A small human study from 2016 suggests that Sativex may also help relieve nausea caused by chemotherapy. Sativex is a medicine that contains both CBD and THC. The FDA has not yet approved Sativex in the United States

The American Cancer Society also lists cannabinoids as a treatment option for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

However, these drugs are not the same as CBD oil products that a person can buy over the counter (OTC). While CBD oil can help with nausea, it is likely to be less effective than prescription cannabinoid-containing drugs.

Click here to learn more about CBD and nausea.


A 2020 review found that CBD could have benefits in relieving chronic pain, improving sleep, and reducing inflammation.

A 2017 report found that there was ample evidence that cannabinoids can help significantly reduce chronic pain. A 2012 study also suggests that CBD can reduce pain and inflammation.

A 2017 review also found that CBD may help with chronic neuropathic pain in humans, which can be a side effect of chemotherapy and cancer.

Click here to learn more about CBD oil and pain.


A 2012 study suggests that CBD may help increase the length of time you sleep. A 2019 analysis adds that CBD can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep.

Click here to learn more about CBD and sleep.


Studies suggest that a common side effect of using products containing CBD is an increase or decrease in a person’s appetite. A 2018 review found that 6.35% of 2,409 people who took CBD experienced increased hunger as a side effect.

Current research has produced mixed results regarding the role of cannabinoids in causing cancer.

Researchers have identified a cannabinoid receptor called CB2 that is present in immune system cells such as B lymphocytes and natural killer cells. This suggests that there might be a link between CBD and immunity.

However, more long-term human studies are needed to determine what role CBD may play in preventing cancer. Also, since CBD oils contain around 1-5% CBD, they are likely to be less effective than the stronger doses in prescription drugs.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that people generally tolerate CBD well. A 2020 study also finds that there are few side effects with acute CBD use, but chronic use can have mild effects. A 2018 article notes that more research is needed to understand possible long-term side effects.

Research suggests that possible side effects can include:

The American Cancer Society advises that cannabinoid drugs can make symptoms of depression, mania, or other mental illnesses worse. However, this is more due to THC than CBD.

Research also shows that CBD can interact with certain drugs. Hence, it is advisable to speak to a doctor before using CBD oil or any other CBD product.

The FDA does not currently regulate OTC CBD products. As a result, knowing exactly what CBD products can contain can be difficult. A 2017 study warns that CBD products available online may contain inaccurate labels.

When considering CBD products, it is wise to choose products that:

  • do not come from a company that is subject to an FDA Warning Letter FDA
  • contain no more than 0.3% THC according to the Agriculture Improvement Act
  • have proof of testing by a third party by an ISO / IEC 17025 accredited laboratory
  • Pass tests for pesticides, heavy metals, mold, and microbes
  • pass product effectiveness assessments and safety tests
  • come from a company that issues certificates of analysis for its products

In addition, people may also consider:

  • taste
  • price
  • CBD potency
  • Reputation from dealers and manufacturers
  • Customer ratings

Read our complete buying guide to CBD here.

As with all CBD products, people should strictly follow all directions on the packaging and not exceed the correct dose on the label. People unfamiliar with CBD oils should start with the lowest possible dosage. Once you know how your body reacts to the substance, you can gradually increase the dose.

Manufacturers sell CBD oil in a number of forms. These can include:

  • Oils to put under the tongue or tinctures to add to food
  • Oils in creams, lotions or balms for topical use
  • Oils in gummy bears or other edibles for consumption

There are currently no definitive studies on the effectiveness of CBD, so it is difficult to know exactly what dosage people should be using. Dosage can also vary based on the effectiveness of the product and the method of application.

According to a 2017 review, taking up to 600 milligrams of CBD doesn’t cause any significant side effects. It is possible that some people will be able to ingest larger amounts safely, but more research is needed. A person may want to discuss possible dosages with their doctor.

CBD can have some benefits in reducing cancer symptoms and can have some anti-cancer properties. However, the research is still in its infancy. Additionally, because manufacturers dilute CBD with a carrier oil to make CBD oils, it may have less beneficial effects than other CBD products, including prescription products.

People should always speak to a doctor before using CBD products or other compounds during cancer treatment to make sure they are not reacting with current medications.

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‘Why aren’t you a user?’: Tilray CEO wants to convince more consumers that cannabis use is OK



It’s been less than three years since Canada legalized cannabis and the emerging industry has already seen strong growth, a stock bubble and now consolidation as oversupply depresses prices.

The recent merger of Tilray and Aphria under the first name has created a national powerhouse that is also the leading provider of medical marijuana in Europe. CEO Irwin Simon, who made Hain Celestial a global tea and health food company before taking over the helm of Aphria, is now hoping to bring the packaged product formulation to the cannabis market.

You have completed the merger. What’s next?

We also acquired SweetWater, a US brewery that sells in about 30 states. The combined company now has a market cap of about $ 7.7 billion, but we still have a pandemic in my largest market. My plan is to grow the Canadian business to about 30 percent of the market share in adult use, medical cannabis, and Cannabis 2.0, which are beverages and edibles.

I want to build a consumer product business around brands whose common denominator is cannabis. With brands, you build brand equity and consumer confidence that the product has passed rigorous government reviews. If you only buy cannabis, who knows what you are buying?

We used to talk about marijuana in general: you smoked a joint. Now it’s much more specialized and segmented.

Think of it like alcohol: not all vodka is created equal. There are different levels of alcohol and ways to consume it, differences in its taste and how it sinks. It’s similar with cannabis. It’s about how it’s grown, the potency, like the flower. My opinion is I don’t sell marijuana. I don’t sell weed. I am selling a cannabis product.

I am not a user, but I would argue that vodka is a known amount to the average consumer and consumers understand that there are different varieties. This understanding has not yet fully developed in relation to cannabis. Would you agree

Helping you understand this is what I am trying to do. The other big thing I need to address is exactly what you just said, “I’m not a user.” Why are you not a user? We need to educate consumers that cannabis is okay. It makes you feel good, it doesn’t leave you hungover, and there isn’t any real science that shows any negative medical effects. As in any industry, as it grows and matures, you will get more awareness and education. For many years we didn’t think of it as cannabis, but rather weed that we bought on the illegal market. There’s a big learning curve.

I didn’t say I never used it. But there is still a stigma. What does it take for cannabis to be as socially accepted as alcohol? Do we need to see politicians and CEOs smoke in public?

Today, 15 to 20 percent of adult Canadians use cannabis, but there are three parts: those who buy it, those who still go on to go on the illicit market, and those who don’t admit it. You are probably using it but you don’t want to tell me. It’s amazing how many people I know carry edibles in their pockets or take gummy bears with them to relax. It just takes time.

You ran a tea company. What will you take away from this Tilray experience?

In 1993 I started a company called Hain Celestial Group. I’ve done 55+ deals and built a $ 3.5 billion global company in the new category of natural organic foods. At the time, consumers were not educated about natural, organic, GMO-free foods, so I did that before and created an industry around a category that was not yet known. I’ll take a similar playbook on the cannabis industry.

How do you envision the industry consolidation?

I don’t envision anything other than the experiences of the alcohol, beer or food industry. When legalization took place in Canada, there were more than 500 trademarks. The big guys who can afford to invest and innovate and put the right marketing behind their products will survive. There will be a middle tier, there will be some niche players, and the rest will go away.

During the pandemic, liquor and beer stores remained open and cannabis stores did not. Do you think that is unfair?

I was told that the Canadian government was warned not to close liquor stores because crime would increase. People were stuck at home all day and at least alcohol – and cannabis would have been the same – calmed you down, and if you drank enough you passed out. Happy hour probably starts at 2pm or 3pm, right? The Canadian government doesn’t allow us to advertise either, or that we should say out there, “Let’s get high and party.” We need to promote health and safety and benefits.

Many US states have moved towards legalizing cannabis. What market do you expect for you?



In the United States, our beer and hemp-based food companies have sales of approximately $ 150 million. So my goal is to possibly buy other food or beverage companies, and if cannabis is legal there – not if, but when – I would include them on cannabis.

Will Canada end up being just a small part of Tilray’s business?

Canada makes up only 10 percent of the US population and half cannot use cannabis because they are underage, but I see Canadian retail sales at a $ 9 billion marketplace. I am not running away from Canada by any means. It’s important business and important from a product development perspective. Hope to grow products in Canada and export to USA

So another kind of natural resource that we will export. What about other parts of the world?

There is no other country than Canada where adult cannabis is legal today, except Uruguay, where it’s quasi legal. In the Netherlands it is decriminalized: you can only consume it in coffee shops. But medical cannabis is legal in eight to ten countries in Europe, and Germany and Portugal are likely to legalize recreational cannabis in the next few years.

We have shipped some CBD oils to Asia where I see the medicinal side as a great opportunity. I’ve done a lot of business in Asia and believe me, there is a market. CBD, or THC, is used in many medicines in China and India, so it’s not like we’re introducing it.

How do you intend to compete with multinational tobacco and alcohol companies that are increasingly partnering with cannabis companies?

They have the infrastructure and the big footprint, but I don’t think Canopy is way ahead of us because of Constellation or Cronos is ahead of us because of Altria. The environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns about tobacco could even harm them.

What is your personal favorite in Tilray’s product portfolio?

I love our SweetWater beer.

Sweet. I mean something that contains cannabis. Or do you also feel stigmatized for admitting that you use it?

I used our rubbers to sleep. Chowie Wowie is one of my favorites. Listen, it’s no different than when the CEO of Diageo is a regular drinker or the CEO of Altria is a regular smoker. When I built Hain, I was a regular user of our natural organic products. But I’ll tell you, when I ran the grocery business, I wondered how people would perceive me selling drugs and alcohol. Well I get stopped on the street all the time. Not that I’m Elon Musk, but everyone wants to know about this company.

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