CBD Accelerator to fund Warwick hemp production project at former Mid-Orange Correctional facility

06 Feb 2019 | 12:04

By Roger Gavan
— The Orange County Industrial Development Agency's Accelerator plans to establish a $2.1 million branch for the production of the hemp compound CBD (cannabidiol) at the former Mid-Orange Correctional facility.
"This project, with its connection to our farm economy and potential to spur numerous entrepreneurs," said Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton, "has the potential to transform our area similar to what dairy did in the early 20th century."
As stated on its web site, the mission of the Orange County Industrial Development Agency, a nonprofit public benefit corporation, is "to promote economic growth through a program of incentives-based allocations that assist in the construction, equipping and maintenance of specific types of projects and facilities."
Accelerators are organizations that offer a range of support services and funding opportunities for new businesses.
Funding in placeThe Orange County Accelerator, a partnership between Orange County Government and the Industrial Development Agency, is focused on bringing manufacturing back to the mid-Hudson Valley.
The CBD Accelerator will invest $550,000 of the $2.1 million investment for the Warwick project. The remaining funds will come from New York State development funds already distributed to the Warwick Valley Local Development Corporation. (WVLDC), a not for profit public benefit corporation.
In July 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo's office announced that the Mid-Orange Correctional Facility in Warwick was on its list of seven prisons to be shut down to save the state money. And in 2014, the State of New York approved the transfer of the property to the Warwick Valley Local Development Corporation and the Town of Warwick.
Tax revenues and jobsFrom the beginning the Town Board's objectives in acquiring the former prison were to create Warwick's first and only business park that would produce tax revenues and provide jobs.
Areas for sale were purchased by the WVLDC, which thus far has successfully attracted companies to invest in Warwick like Citiva Medical, Kraftify Brewing Co. Ground Control, Eden Restoration, Trans Tech Bus Co. and Hudson Valley Sports.
Since 2015 Sweeton has been working on using some buildings as a launching pad for entrepreneurs that would start and grow businesses in the corporate park that help the town reach its objectives.
He contacted the Orange County Industrial Development Agency, which had created accelerators in other parts of the county.
Onions, celery, hops and now hempLaurie Villasuso and Vincent Cozzolino helped facilitate a focus group of Warwick citizens who identifies the burgeoning field of hemp production as a business sector of promise.
And with support from the IDA board and collaboration with a private company already experienced in growing hemp in the Black Dirt Area of Warwick, the Town Board developed the Warwick Hemp Initiative
Cannabis sativaHemp is a variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products
Farmers who have been licensed to grow hemp will be able to have their product turned into high-grade CBD oil that will be sold to companies making a wide range of products. CBD oil has been shown to have numerous benefits including health improvements.
Although cannabis as a drug and industrial hemp both derive from the species Cannabis sativa and contain THC, they are distinct strains with hemp having lower concentrations of THC and higher concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates its psychoactive effects.
Advocates argue that CBD can help ease pain, anxiety, depression and stress.
Grant funds dedicated to the redevelopment of the former correctional facility, IDA money and private investment from New York Hemp Source will renovate the old dairy barn into a state-of-the-art processing facility for CBD oil.
The facility will be on line, ready to accept product, by late 2019.