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MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. — Cannabis cultivation could soon be coming to Mount Vernon, but it’s depending on if Gov. Kathy Hochul releases licenses for medical marijuana.

National legalization of marijuana, studies show, could bring in billions of dollars to the United States economy. Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard said she wants to get in on it.

“We want to make sure that Mount Vernon, that has had challenges like many urban communities at the hands of the illegal drug trade, does not miss out on the economic opportunity that medical marijuana brings,” Patterson-Howard said.

There are also health benefits, she aded, that will give the Black and Brown residents access to relief from chronic illness and pain.

She also said many dispensaries are located in affluent neighborhoods backed by large companies and resources.

“There are 38 medical marijuana dispensaries in the state of New York right now,” Patterson-Howard said. “Not one of them — not one — [is] an MWBE.”

MWBE stands for “Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises,” which certifies businesses run by minorities and women and aims to promote equity for these groups.  

Hudson Health Extracts, a cannabis cultivation and dispensary business, is both minority and woman-led.

CEO Daniel Lauture is a Black man and the president, Daisy Mellet, is a woman. The two leaders are looking to bring medical marijuana in the form of a 100,000-square foot facility to Mount Vernon.  

“This is a blighted area,” Lauture said. “It’s been an eyesore for the community for years. We feel that we can make this into a wellness area.”

They believe medical marijuana would provide an affordable alternative to what can be addictive pharmaceuticals.

With plans of a two-tiered cultivation on South Fourth Avenue, they want to be a community resource center, planting a community garden in that same vision.

“We want to allow for access to fresh food and invite people in the community come and have their plots,” Mellet said.

About $50 million dollars is expected to be invested into the project and it’s estimated it will create about 200 jobs.

Although there’s opposition to medical marijuana, Mayor Patterson-Howard said it’s about educating those who don’t agree.

“This is a growing conversation and as the conversation evolves and there’s more education available, we’re going to be speaking more to our community about it,” Patterson-Howard said.

She has encouraged the governor to release more licenses including MWBE certifications to be considered.

Hudson Health Extracts is waiting on the governor for its license to be released as well.