Drew Mosher grabbed a shovel-full of hemp and placed it in the drying machine, as Mark Cryan moved it around to even it out.
The two men are among several people at work at 185 Main St., Cortland — the site of a new hemp-oil processing facility expected to eventually employ 45 people.
While the site is still about a month and half away from being done with phase one of construction and beginning the oil process, there’s still lots of work going on, said Allan Gandelman.
Gandelman is part owner of Main Street Farms, which grows the hemp in addition to vegetables. Karli Miller-Hornick is the chief executive officer of New York Hemp Oil, which makes up the other half of the project.
They were both at the facility Tuesday morning talking to construction workers. The 40,000-square-foot facility is at the former JTS Lumber site, which had sat vacant since it closed in February 2017.
In December, Gandelman bought the building to expand the oil portion of the business. Once everything is up and running, the facility will have around 45 employees, but may have more during the harvest to get the hemp dried and ready for processing.
“Because we have a very short wi dow” to harvest and get the crop ready, Miller-Hornick said.
The facility is booked through October, as it works to dry the harvest from several farms. Gandelman expects to have worked with at least 20 farms this season from like Long Island to Buffalo. He did not have projected revenue.
But CBD oil is expected to be a $22 billion industry by 2022, according to an 2018 article by Rolling Stone magazine.
“The hemp industry will be bringing in this year anywhere from $50 million to $100 million” statewide, Gandelman said in May.
On south Main Street, everything is on schedule for phase one of the facility to be done by mid-December, Gandelman said.
Phase one includes creating a processing room to get the CBD oil out of the hemp, clean room and business offices. Phase two will include adding a room to make various formulations and increasing space for hemp processing.
“Way earlier than that,” Gandelman said, noting the facility should be set to go by spring. “Phase one is the big push.”
There are three types of industrial hemp, Gandelman said:
- Grain, which is grown for the seeds to use in food products and hempseed oil.
- Fiber used for fabric and clothing.
- CBD oil used to treat certain pain and inflammation.
The CBD oil is the type of hemp Main Street Farms is growing on Route 215 in Cortlandville. It’s also the type that the hemp-processing business will work with.
Processing the plant begins with drying it and stripping the leaves and flowers from the stem. The flowers and leaves are ground and soaked in ethanol to draw out the CBD oil. The ethanol is then filtered and evaporated, leaving the oil.
Industrial hemp is the same genus and species as marijuana, but has less than 0.3 percent of THC, the chemical that causes the high. Hemp does look and smell a lot like marijuana, but will not provide a high.
Miller-Hornick said everything should be up and running by next harvest season — the fall of 2020.
Gandelman said CBD oil can be used as natural supplement and “some people take it for pain, anxiety or to help them sleep.”