JAMESTOWN – A “farm to table” CBD business in the Jamestown area is working to get into the recreational marijuana industry by opening a production facility in the city’s industrial district.
For the past several years, Todd Michael Stimson has helped his customers, most people 60 and up, find relief from things like arthritis through his business The Relief Market.
Hemp has lower then 0.03 percent of THC, the main compound in cannabis, so Stimson says unlike marijuana there is no psychactivity to it.
“You can’t really tell the difference when it comes to looking at the plant, which one is a hemp plant, and which one is not a hemp plant,” explained Stimson. “Marijuana is a name that we try to go away from because the stigma is stuck to that so much, but then, when you say cannabis a lot of people don’t understand what you are talking about.”
Stimson, who currently grows, harvests and sells the crop with help of his wife and cousins, says when he learned the state legalized marijuana earlier this year, he felt like he finally had the chance to be accepted in the community.
“Your taken out of society in so many different ways, be it from a misdemeanor or a felony. because of cannabis,” said Stimson. “To see that, and actually be welcomed to a community, that is something people have been waiting for, for so long.”
His current store is located in the Town of Kiantone, just feet from the City of Jamestown line. The town, Stimson says, may choose to opt out of allowing cannabis sales. However, according to state regulations, he doesn’t feel that will impact his current operation.
“CBD sales will be under the OCM (Office of Cannabis Management),” said Stimson. “But, if a city opts out, then it won’t because of the definition separation.”
Stimson met with Kiantone lawmakers on Thursday night, to present his business plan, something he has already done with city leaders in Jamestown.
“What we’re wanting to get into is the microbusiness, which includes the seed to sale aspect, instead of just one dispensing aspect,” said Stimson. “We want to grow all the way to the dispense aspect.”
His grow operation, which usually takes place in a rural field of Chautauqua County, will now likely happen in an old factory on Water Street in Jamestown, feeding both the current CBD business and new recreational marijuana venture.
“We plan on having green houses, it all depends on when the OCM sets up what canopy size that they’ll allow a microbusiness, but it seems like a microbusiness should be able to have a few green houses,” said Stimson. “With an acer of land, there’s lots of options here.”
Inside the old distillery site, Stimson says cannabis processing will take place along with retail sales. As his business grows, Stimson plans to offer an on-site consumption lounge as well.
City leaders, like Mayor Eddie Sundquist, have indicated their support for the new industry. In fact, Sundquist launched a campaign earlier this year advertising the city to perspective marijuana growers.
He feels this venture will not be just beneficial to his family, but the whole community.
“This is an employment opportunity for individuals too,” said Stimson. “It does take a lot with the plant, lots of processes, lots of steps.”
This week, New York State took a step forward staffing the Office of Cannabis Management when Governor Kathy Hochul appointed a board president and executive director.
Municipalities have until the end of the year to opt out of allowing dispensaries in their neighborhoods. A handful of communities in Chautauqua County, like the Village of Lakewood for example, have voted to do so. As of now, that will not impact marijuana consumption of people living there.