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This company could hire hundreds in Fulton County if marijuana is legalized

A medical marijuana company that employs 35 workers at its manufacturing facility in Fulton County could hire hundreds more, depending what legislation New York lawmakers pass this year.

If recreational cannabis is legalized, or if more patients become eligible to use medical marijuana, Vireo Health could hire more people, said chief operating officer Ari Hoffnung. That would depend on the language of whatever law is passed.

“I think ultimately we can bring hundreds of jobs to Fulton County,” Hoffnung said. “It would be a game-changer with favorable adult-use legislation or a significant expansion of the medical program in terms of adding jobs there.”

The company would look at further investments, too, depending if new laws are passed.

“If the changes are favorable to us, and please underline the word if, we would consider investing more funds in our manufacturing facility, expanding our manufacturing facility, and adding more jobs,” he said.

If recreational marijuana is regulated to the same extent as medical products, Vireo could sell existing products to more customers.

“From our medical team’s perspective, a lot of the so-called recreational customers are actually consuming cannabis for health and wellness reasons so conditions like stress, anxiety, insomnia are serious quality-of-life issues,” Hoffnung said. “We believe that adult-use consumers would benefit from having the types of products and services that are available to medical cannabis patients at this time.”

“From our medical team’s perspective, a lot of the so-called recreational customers are actually consuming cannabis for health and wellness reasons so conditions like stress, anxiety, insomnia are serious quality-of-life issues,” Hoffnung said. “We believe that adult-use consumers would benefit from having the types of products and services that are available to medical cannabis patients at this time.”

Hoffnung said he’s still reviewing the proposals to legalize recreational marijuana to see how they could impact Vireo.

“The devil is in the details,” he said.

Vireo’s cultivation and manufacturing plant is in the Tryon Technology Park in Johnstown. The company has a dispensary at 38 Fuller Road in Albany. The company is headquartered in Minneapolis, with operations in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Vireo makes products from a $99 vaporizer starter kit; to oil for vaporization, which can cost up to $250 for 2 milliliters; to oral solutions for up to $165 per 12.5-milliliter bottle.

Customers pay out of pocket for medical marijuana. Hoffnung says certain legal changes would help him lower his prices. That includes making it legal to sell the flower of the cannabis plant in dispensaries, which would be less expensive than extract-based products.

“We do recognize the fact that our product is expensive,” he said. “We hope over time, with flower and with other regulatory changes, the prices will come down.”

About 90,000 patients in New York are certified to use medical marijuana, and 2,000 providers are able to prescribe it. Vireo could grow its business if more patients are made eligible to use medical cannabis.

“If new regulations that expand patients are passed, then we would expect robust growth,” Hoffnung said.

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