UPDATE: Empire Hemp looks forward to converting cannabis for dispensaries
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UPDATE: Empire Hemp looks forward to converting cannabis for dispensaries

Aug 23, 2022

BATAVIA — The Empire Hemp Co., LLC, has a license it needs to start taking the cannabis cultivators have grown and convert it into products for dispensaries to sell later this year.

The New York State Cannabis Control Board awarded the first 15 conditional adult-use processing licenses to Empire Hemp, 34 Swan St., Suite 4, and 14 other qualified applicants for this license.

Empire is a licensed cannabinoid hemp processor, a designation it received earlier this year.


“We have not started yet. The Office of Cannabis Management has to come and inspect our facility before we can working with the high-THC material (adult use cannabis),” said Empire Hemp CEO Chris VanDusen. The Cannabis Control Board oversees OCM.

VanDusen said Empire will convert cannabis into products right away in anticipation of the first dispensaries opening in December.

“The (state) Dormitory Authority is building out, from what know we’ve heard, four dispensaries — two in New York City, one in Albany and one in Buffalo will be the first, sometime in December, is the rumor ...” VanDusen said. “They’ll have to fill those dispensaries before they open them, obviously, so there will be stocking orders.

“With the end of November, early December — we hope to see the first sales go out to those dispensaries, when they let us know when they’ve chosen them,” he continued. “The application starts on Thursday for the dispensaries to apply (to the Control Board).”


Once the state chooses the dispensaries, VanDusen said, Empire Hemp will contact them.

“What we don’t know is if the state is going to contact us first and say, ‘What products do you have? We need to fill these four dispensaries,” he said. “We think the state’s going to fill those stores first, before the first owners take possession.”

The New York State Adult Use Cannabis Market is expected to exceed $4 billion in revenue within the next two years. To support this, Empire Hemp Co. intends to expand into an identified 45,000-square-foot facility on Commerce Drive no later than Nov. 1.

VanDusen and Vice President Shelly Wolanske said the company plans to lease the facility, but has not signed the lease yet.

If Empire leases the Commerce Drive space, it will immediately begin the buildout of temperature-controlled storage and processing rooms, a second extraction room, offices and other space.

Empire Hemp expects to begin some operations there as soon as the end of the year.

By Brian Quinn, thedailynews.com

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