A medical marijuana facility could be on its way to Utica. Brightwaters Farms on Herkimer Road is seeking one of the five licenses from the state. And many in the area seem to be on board. Alana LaFlore reports.
UTICA, N.Y. -- She's a 12-year-old who wants to live a normal, seizure-free life. And Mackenzie Kulawy's mother thinks that's possible with medical marijuana.
They've been lobbying the cause and have even met with state Senators, hoping to find relief from the disorder Mackenzie has lived with for 8 years.
"She suffers from drop seizures, where she looks like a marionette doll that drops. Jerk seizures where her arms will jerk up and she'll lunge forward. Absent seizures where she will be talking and she'll stop talking. Friends that live in Colorado -- their kids have been seizure free for three years," said Julie Kulaway, Mackenzie's mother.
That is something they believe could be possible for Mackenzie.
Legalized last year for a host of diseases, New York State is accepting applications from people who want to grow medical marijuana. Five licenses will be awarded, and Brightwaters Farms in North Utica hopes they're one of the recipients.
The owner spoke with community members Monday about his plans.
"Our medicinal marijuana facility is going to have 100 people making in excess of $100,000 a year. In perspective -- what that operation within our facility could do is huge economic stimulus for up in this area," said Anthony Quintal, the Bridgewaters Farms owner.
Most people at Monday's meeting supported the idea of growing medical marijuana right here in Utica. And while some expressed concern that people could break into the greenhouse, steal the product and then sell it on the street, leaders say that's not likely to happen.
"The plants themselves really have no street value. It's the female plant which is typically not the one used for smoking. New York State has put such tight regulations on this, the seed has to be tracked all the way to pill format," said Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica.
The medical marijuana will also be made into an oil -- something Mackenzie Kulaway can't want to get her hands on.
"It would be a miracle," she said.