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AUBURN

Cannabis company announces plans for facility in Auburn

Cannabis company Terrapin has announced plans to open a production facility in Auburn.

The Colorado-based company plans to purchase Lot No. 2 in the Auburn Technology Park in the northwest corner of the city, according to a news release shared Thursday. The 12.04-acre property is located near the corner of Technology Park Boulevard and Allen Street. A letter of intent for the purchase will be reviewed by the Auburn Industrial Development Authority at its Oct. 20 meeting. 

Terrapin CEO and founder Chris Woods said in the new release that the company wants to make a multi-million-dollar investment in Auburn, with 100 jobs at the facility, and plans to work with the community on social equity, addiction recovery support, poverty and food scarcity, sustainability and other issues of local relevance.

“As always, Terrapin is focused on planting local roots,” Woods said. “We are so thankful to our partners in the Auburn community who have welcomed us with open arms. We are excited to serve the community as responsible corporate citizens in leaving a positive community footprint.”

The announcement comes after New York state's passage of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act in March. Under the new law, use and possession of recreational marijuana is now legal statewide. Municipalities have the option of adopting laws prohibiting retail sales of marijuana and licensed consumption sites by Dec. 31, and though the city of Auburn has not yet decided whether to "opt out" of those parts of the law, doing so would not affect a production facility like Terrapin's. Still, two city officials expressed support for the company's plans:

"Up to 100 full-time jobs paying $20-plus per hour is exciting news for Auburn,” Mayor Michael D. Quill said. “We welcome Terrapin to our community and I would like to recognize all the effort of our city staff, Cayuga Economic Development Agency and the Auburn Industrial Development Authority for all they did to work with Terrapin to bring these jobs to Auburn. “

“Terrapin recognizes that partnerships between the business and nonprofit sectors create synergies which benefit individuals and the larger community,” Councilor Jimmy Giannettino said. “Business development is critical to our mission of recruiting a diverse workforce to our community. Placing a focus on nonprofit outreach only adds to this goal. We look forward to working with Terrapin in developing additional opportunities to support this mission.”

Terrapin's plans include working with local leaders on social equity job fairs to include diversity in its workforce, and exploring second-chance job opportunities with Auburn Correctional Facility "to right the wrongs of a failed systemically racist drug war that disproportionately targeted Black and Latino populations." Citing the legacy of Auburn resident Harriet Tubman and the area's role in the abolitionist movement, the company said it hopes to leverage the city's status as a tourism destination for people interested in issues of equity. It will do that by providing education to Black and Latino entrepreneurs seeking access to the state's new cannabis industry, Terrapin said, as well as working with downtown businesses and restaurants on workshops for minority business owners.

Also recognizing how hard Auburn has been hit by the opioid epidemic, Terrapin said it will work with local organizations to bridge the gap from clinical to peer support by helping those recovering from addiction to find treatment and possibly employment at its new facility. The company further plans to "deploy community education as it relates to cannabis as an alternative form of maintenance support for those struggling with addiction."

Poverty and food scarcity will be additional focuses of Terrapin, as it plans to work with local nonprofits to eliminate homelessness, alleviate hunger and increase workforce readiness. The company will also provide experts for employment workshops that will walk people through accessing the state's new cannabis industry, it said.

Terrapin's sustainability plans include purchasing solar energy subscriptions, LED lighting, voluntary audits with energy consultants and strategic energy management workshops, all of which the company has pursued at its six dispensaries and four production facilities in Colorado. Employing more than 400 people, Terrapin has also opened a medical marijuana production facility in Clinton County, Pennsylvania, and a production facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan, since its founding in 2009. It recently launched medical marijuana operations in Kansas City as well. 

“We have a proven track record that ensures that we will fit in with the fabric of the community,” Woods said. “The relationships we have developed with the community allow us to serve as a responsible partner who is invested in the future of Auburn and central New York.”

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.

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I edit The Citizen's features section, Lake Life, and weekly entertainment guide, Go. I've also been writing for The Citizen and auburnpub.com since 2006, covering arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.

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