(Cover photo by Kayla Bartkowski)
New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed the Conditional Cannabis Cultivation Bill early this year to allow hemp farmers in the state to start cultivating cannabis for adult use. This move allowed The New York Cannabis Control Board (CCB) to license the first round of Conditional Cannabis Cultivators in April 2022.
Since then, the state has approved 277 Adult-Use Cannabis Conditional Cultivator Licenses to local hemp farmers. While the vast majority of cannabis grows remain dominated by men, these are some of the leading ladies who received their cultivation license in New York state.
Backed by an extensive background in family medicine, pain management, and mental health, Tess Interlicchia of Grateful Valley Farms is on a mission to deliver relief and joy to consumers of all kinds so they can live better every day.
A licensed hemp cultivator since 2019, Interlicchia applied for her cannabis cultivator license in March 2022 after spending most of the pandemic harvesting hemp. Just one month later, she became one of the first licensed cultivators in the state and the only licensed cultivator in her county. Her woman-owned farm provides organically grown quality recreational and medicinal cannabis.
“At Grateful Valley Farm, we already have an incredible team of passionate, loving humans who made it possible to win and place in every category at our first sun-grown cannabis competition in the Finger Lakes region recently,” Interlicchia told The Emerald.
Interlicchia is also the co-founder of Root to Rise Wellness Center, a private integrative medical practice in Upstate New York. “Ultimately, my goal is to help folks along on their journey of healing: mind, body, and spirit,” she told The Emerald. “Moving forward, I feel it would be amazing to teach regenerative farming practices to the youth, to help those at risk, to give them real-life skills and a sense of community that would help them succeed in life.”
As a hemp farmer who’s grown for two of the past four years, however, Interlicchia has seen the gender disparities in the industry firsthand. “We need more lady farmers as well as investors who know and appreciate the value of a determined woman entrepreneur,” she noted. “Sadly, it is still very much a man’s world, and us gals need to be tenacious AF to crawl out alive.”
Sarah Stenuf is a Syracuse, NY, native who entered the cannabis industry following her time in the U.S. Military. Stenuf served four years and one deployment to Afghanistan before being medically retired for epilepsy from a traumatic brain injury and combat post-traumatic stress disorder. Having experienced the benefits of cannabis herself, Stenuf started Anada Farms as a part of her mission to provide safe hemp products for consumers everywhere.
In addition to cultivating cannabis, Anada Farms will also be home to Veterans Ananda Inc., a soon-to-be 501(c)(3) non-profit homestead and retreat for veterans, first responders, and their families. Founded by Stenuf, The homestead and retreat will serve as a fully-functioning cannabis farm and a place for traditional and non-traditional treatments and therapies.
“Through the cultivation, processing, and exploitation of this plant, we seek to promote solutions to problems such as the lack of employment for veterans, poverty, starvation, improvement of the environment (such as the negative impact of pollution), and negative social conditions affecting Americans (and those especially vulnerable in our country, our veterans at-risk in the communities),” reads the companies website.
Twin Arch Farm is owned and operated by Heather Wash and her husband, Tom. With outdoor and indoor facilities, including a 250 ft. long historic barn, Twin Arch Farm utilizes 100% organic processes to grow their hemp. “We very much pride ourselves on using only organic practices,” Walsh told The Emerald. “Our goal is to provide a premium quality, smokable flower to the dispensaries (and) produce products that we would want to buy ourselves.”
Wash spent two years cultivating hemp at Twin Arch Farm before applying for her Conditional Cultivator license – a process she says was surprisingly fast and easy. The farm can plant, harvest, dry, and trim all their plants by hand and on-site and has already produced 1 acre of cannabis plants outside that are now in the curing process. “We are very fortunate to be close to NYC, and we absolutely plan to sell our products to NYC dispensaries, (which) we are hoping will open up by the end of the year,” Walsh noted.
Co-founder of Tricolla Farms and CEO of Tonic Vibes, Brittany Carbone is one of the biggest names in the NY cannabis industry and one of NY’s first adult-use cannabis licensees. Carbone also serves on the board of the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association and is chair of the Association’s Sustainability committee,
While many newly licensed cultivators in the state have extensively been harvesting hemp previously for fibers, Carbone began growing hemp at Tricolla Farms to source her CBD topical, tincture, and smoking blend company, TONIC. Her hands-on experience in every aspect of CBD brand development and management makes Tricolla Farms stand out from the crowd as we consider which farms will stock the city. From cultivation to marketing and sales, Brittany Carbone and Tricolla farms are paving the way for an industry that prioritizes sustainability, integrity, and quality.
Cultivating with Care
Whether you’re looking to stock your dispensary or shopping for personal supplies, It’s important to source your cannabis from ethical, environmentally conscious farms. As the New York market expands, keep your eye out for products from these women cultivators as you visit new dispensaries across the state.
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