This article was first seen in print in our cannabis community column.
Flora – California Prime, a California-based company has its sights on Buffalo for the location of a 1.25 million square foot cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution facility. It will be located near Buffalo’s waterfront at Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park, a newly-developed ‘smart growth’ urban commerce park located on reclaimed waterfront land. The land is owned by the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation, a not-for-profit development agency that reclaims distressed land for future developments. The board of the agency voted unanimously to sell the land to Flora for $1.9 million. Construction of the $200 million facility is expected to begin once adult use of cannabis is approved by the state.
The facility is expected to bring 500 – 1000 jobs to the region with a focus on local and minority participation. Flora Buffalo, as the campus will be called, plans to partner with Roswell Park Cancer Institute to conduct research and Erie Community College to develop a curriculum that will help educate the workforce needed to operate the facility. Though there are no formal agreements in place, representatives from Roswell and ECC have voiced their support for the company’s plans. According to Flora Buffalo’s Twitter page, “The median salary for cannabis workers is 10.7% higher than the overall median salary in the U.S.” Flora also hopes to support local cannabis entrepreneurs by providing incubator space and small business assistance at the site. The campus will also house a non-profit that will focus on restorative services from the negative impact of the War on Drugs.
Flora was founded by Jim Caccavo and developer Brad Termini. Caccavo has a strong background in health and wellness products, he’s been involved with companies such as Naked Juice and EAS. Termini, originally from Buffalo, is the son of developer Rocco Termini and is CEO of Zephyr partners, a California real estate company. Flora owns three dispensaries in California and will soon be opening their own grow operation in Greenfield California. The company has also enlisted the help of former Mayor, Anthony Masiello, by hiring his lobbying firm. Masiello can be seen at the start of the video on Flora’s website speaking about the people of Buffalo and Hanna Furnace, the factory that once stood at the commerce park.
Flora has named Dasheeda Dawson, a global cannabis advocate, award-winning executive strategist, and author, the president of the Buffalo operation. Dawson speaks on topics related to social justice and minority participation on the company’s promotional videos and at their events.
Flora has hosted numerous community conversations about their plans. These talks have given residents the opportunity to voice their concerns and ask questions. At the most recent conversation, at Southside Elementary in March, concerns were raised about traffic issues during construction, odor produced by the plants, and environmental consequences. The facility would be in close proximity to Tift nature preserve.
More information is available online at FloraBuffalo.com