7 On Your Side: Warwick, NY planting seed for Marijuana boom after state prison shut down

Dan Krauth Image
Friday, January 27, 2023
NY town planting seed for marijuana boom
The new marijuana industry in New York is reshaping how many people work and do business across the state, including in the village of Warwick. Dan Krauth has the story.

An hour north of New York City, you'll find the village of Warwick. Where the secret to success lies beneath the surface.

The area has fertile soil known as black dirt, famous for growing onions. For decades, farmers in the Hudson Valley supplied most of the country with them.

But it hasn't been easy for people in the village. Farmers have been fighting Mother Nature and more competitors than ever before. And when the state prison in Warwick shut down, the community lost more than 400 jobs.

"We said, it's really too important for our community to let this sit like a lot of the buildings the state closes," said Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton.

They've now planted the seed for something else to grow. Instead of onions, the town's becoming known for growing something else - marijuana.

"We think it's a home run not only for our farmers but for new businesses, tax revenue for residents, and high-paying jobs," said Sweeton of the licensed hemp and marijuana industries.

It's expected to generate billions of dollars for the State of New York over the next few years. You can now get licenses to grow and sell it. Months in, the new industry is already bringing new life to smaller towns across the area.

Community leaders and business owners in Orange County have redeveloped buildings on the site of the old prison grounds.

Numerous marijuana processing and testing facilities have opened.

The Warwick Supervisor estimates more than 200 jobs have already been created.

One of those is UrbanXtracts, a place to cultivate, extract and produce legally licensed cannabis.

"We're really starting to produce and roll out the products," said Eran Sherin, founder of UrbanXtracts.

It'll be shipped soon to dispensaries in New York City, and eventually across the state when they're opened.

It's also good for local farmers who are looking to grow the plants as well. Some have a head start by already being licensed to grow hemp in New York.

"It's a tough crop to grow and if you don't know what you're doing you can lose a lot of money real fast," said farmer Mark Rogowski. "It does help, it adds to diversification and reduces the risk."


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