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Monday, January 3, 2022

Special Report from Batavia Daily News:
Demand for sustainable cannabis grows before 2022 legislative session

As the buds of New York’s cannabis industry root and take shape, lawmakers and hemp growers are stressing taking action in the 2022 legislative session to expand cannabis entrepreneurs’ use of industrialized hemp — creating new opportunities for farmers.

New legislation proposed by Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Michelle Hinchey, D-Saugerties, would require the state Cannabis Control Board to develop detailed plans for the packaging and labeling of newly legalized recreational cannabis products and mandate the Office of Cannabis Management and Empire State Development create a sustainable cannabis packaging incubator program to give financial incentives to farmers and cannabis entrepreneurs to produce and use hemp-based materials.

“A lot of cannabis packaging uses a process with single-use plastic and individual servings, so it has a lot of waste,” Hinchey said. “We have to find ways to stop filling our landfills. As we create an entire new industry upstate, one that is pretty waste-creating, we should have a circular economy making sure that cannabis products are packaged with biodegradable hemp to make sure it will create much less waste as we start this new industry.”

Bill S7508 is in the Senate Rules Committee. The new proposed legislation will be one of several cannabis-related measures discussed in the upcoming 2022 legislative session, which starts Wednesday. Unlike other crops, hemp can grow in most climates and on most farmland, requiring less water and no pesticides or herbicides, according to the senator’s office.

Hemp-derived composites are 3.5 times stronger than conventional plastics and can replace a multitude of plastic items — such as water bottles, packaging, construction materials and car parts — and are biodegradable, taking between three to six months to decompose. Petroleum-based plastics take over 400 years to break down.

“Hemp is a product that varies incredibly in its uses,” Hinchey said. “It’s incredibly diverse. Everything that is created with plastic can be replaced with hemp. What’s exciting is, no one in the world is really doing this.”

“If we can kickstart the market here in New York, we would be a leader in this new manufacturing industry, which is a win for our economy and especially a win for upstate for our farmers and the environment,” she added.

The new measure would invigorate New York’s industrialized hemp industry and help the state be one of the nation’s first to prioritize environmental sustainability in recreational cannabis products.

“The Office of Cannabis Management and the Cannabis Control Board are reviewing a wide array of issues as we develop the regulations with robust stakeholder engagement and opportunities for comment that will bring this new industry to life in a safe, sustainable way that protects public health and the environment,” a spokesperson for the Office of Cannabis Management said in a statement.

Agency representatives would not answer specific questions about what methods board members are considering to regulate waste from recreational marijuana, or when the agency would publicly address the issue. The office does not govern the state’s industrial hemp.

Representatives would not comment on the proposed incentives for farmers or cannabis sellers to offset the use of plastics. The incentive to focus on using and producing biodegradable hemp-based packaging for cannabis products would provide business opportunities for small farmers, spurring economic development in upstate and rural communities.

Melany Dobson is the co-chair of the Sustainability Committee within the New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association. She’s also chief product officer and co-founder of Hudson Hemp — a 2,400 acre organic-regenerative hemp farm based in Hudson. The Columbia County hemp processor partners with several hemp farmers in Columbia, Dutchess and Ulster counties and is the parent company of Treaty CBD.

The CBD oil company uses biodegradable hemp herd from biotechnology company Ecovative Design, based in Rensselaer County, for all its packaging, including its compostible post-consumer waste boxes.

“One of our taglines is, ‘Sustainability is good, regeneration is forever,’” Dobson said. “Right now, given the state of the climate and our environment, it’s important that we go beyond sustainability to kind of revolutionize our industrial systems through regenerative agricultural practices.”

Ecovative’s hemp packaging uses hemp herd, or the inner, woody core of the hemp plant of the stock and mycelium fungi to fit any shaped package or product.

The bill will help create more resources for biodegradable alternatives to plastic and help other emerging hemp growers and cannabis businesses localize the industry and develop New York-based packaging supply chains.

The innovative thinking for the emerging industry is taking hold: New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association is committed to building sustainability into the framework of the state’s cannabis policy and infrastructure, Dobson said.

“Our goals are to set standards that prioritize sustainable practices,” she said. “This is such a prime opportunity for coalitions and associations to democratize this process and propose regulations and policies and ways to educate, and ways to educate consumers, so there’s value in making these supply chains sustainable and making the packaging sustainable.”

Dobson said she supports the proposed bill, adding that it will open the door for hemp to assist in the medical, food, fuel and packaging industries.

“The beauty of what this legislation proposes is it creates a closed-loop system on this industry,” she said. “What other agricultural commodity can we say that about? Especially at the state level.”

The state Cannabis Growers and Processors Association meets three times per week and is in regular communication with state officials from the Office of Cannabis Management and Cannabis Control Board, lawmakers and other leaders to measure how to effectively propose measures to ensure sustainable practices become part of the industry’s regulations and legal framework.

Cannabis Control Board member Jen Metzger, a former senator from Rosendale, recently visited Eaton Hemp in Madison County, which sells organic hemp seeds, snacks and hemp-fiber pet care products.

“They were very interested to see what we were doing,” said Daniel Dolgin, Eaton Hemp’s chief executive officer and co-founder. Dolgin also chairs the association’s Industrial Hemp Committee.

“The OCM is very interested in having the adult-use program be very much about sustainability and climate change, being carbon neutral and all those good things,” he said. “In all the OCM board meetings, the issue of sustainability has been front and center.”

Dolgin is enthusiastic by the legislative proposal to jumpstart the state’s hemp use and production.

“The state needs to tip the scales, and right now, it’s a supply and demand issue,” Dolgin said. “You really need to demand to have people put seeds in the ground to grow for grain and fiber. A farmer is not going to give up valuable crop land when they know it’s something they can get paid for.”

Dobson agreed that conversations about sustainable cannabis practices remain at the forefront for all parties involved.

“We’re moving swiftly — we’re taking this period of time really seriously because there is an unknown to it, but there’s also an urgency,” she said. “There’s a real understanding that environmental and social justice are connected intrinsically and in order to create a just and fair industry, we must tackle these challenges with an openness that hasn’t been represented in other states.”

It remains unclear when recreational cannabis sales and the need for environmentally friendly packaging will rise as the new Office of Cannabis Management and the board work to develop rules and regulations. New York became the 15th state to legalize recreational cannabis after the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act was signed into law March 31.

Advocates noted overregulation and numerous barriers in other states, such as California, that hindered sustainable practices and small businesses. Dobson is encouraged by the conversation taking place in New York that the same mistakes will not be repeated.

The 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which mandates a 40% reduction of statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and an 85% emissions reduction by 2050, sets a framework for regulating incentives to make the state’s cannabis industry part of the climate solution, she said.

“I haven’t seen those conversations be carried out successfully in other states,” Dobson added. “There’s a real appreciation and sophistication about how we are discussing these things and how it relates to sustainability. The adoption of these efforts isn’t really a lofty goal — it’s kind of necessitated by this act, and that’s incredible.”

Hinchey has discussed the measure with several fellow senators who support the idea. The bill continues to build bipartisan support before session has started, she said.

“It’s one of those things that feels like a no-brainer,” the senator said. “We have the opportunity to grow this agricultural product, but there are no concrete plans. We know our solid waste is a problem, so if we can, it would be a solution to not create any more in the immediate future. That’s a huge win on the environmental side, on the economic side and all around for our state.”

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W. PETE MAIRS

W. PETE MAIRS
Walter D. “Pete” Mairs, 81, died peacefully on July 23, 2021. Born in Avon, N.Y., on Sept. 3, 1939, Pete was a longtime resident of Geneva, N.Y., and these past many years in Buffalo, N.Y., as well as his beloved Silver Lake. Pete is survived by his wife, Linda Bergstrom Mairs, a loving and true companion; children, Mimi C. Mairs, Jonathan B. Mairs; sisters, June Huff, Helen Dole; brother, Thomas Mairs; stepchildren, Daniel Brinkworth, Jennie Ramsey; sister-in-law, Anne Bergstrom, eight beautiful grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. A service and celebration of life is planned for the fall when all can share the joy of Pete’s life together. Arrangements by Stephenson – Dougherty Funeral Home, Avon, N.Y.

Editor's Note: It was a privilege knowing and working with Pete Mairs during his presidency of the Silver Lake Institute. He was a kind and gentle man, but also firm in his leadership. I served as Treasurer and Chaplain of SLI during those years and I could always depend on Pete's presence in the worship service. He was a man of faith and a gem of a human being. May he rest in God's care.

GERALD C. SAHRLE

GERALD C. SAHRLE
Gerald C. Sahrle, 80, of Perry, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He was born on Oct. 10, 1941, in Wayland, N.Y., to the late Charles A. and Helen I. (Blowers) Sahrle. Gerry was a line foreman for 32 1/2 years for NYSE&G, working out of the Perry and Hamburg locations, and was a Town of Perry Councilman. He was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons of the Constellation Lodge -404 in Perry. He was an avid fisherman, hunter and woodworker. He is survived by his wife, Valary A. (Conley) Sahrle; 1 son, Gerald (Pamela) Sahrle II of Silver Springs; 2 sisters, Millie Edmond of Greece, Bonnie Fink of Winston-Salem, N.C., 3 brothers, Ronald (Linda) Sahrle of Dansville, Robert (Susan) Sahrle of Springwater, Kenneth Sahrle of Dansville; 5 grandchildren, Bradley Musscarella, Stone and Winston Sahrle, Conley and Cooper Gayton; along with many nieces, nephews and friends. Along with his parents, he is preceded in death by a brother, Thomas Sahrle, who passed away in 2012. Services will be held at the convenience of the family. Gerry will be laid to rest in West Perry Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Perry Center Fire Department, P.O. Box 204, Perry, NY 14530. For more information, please call (585) 237-2626 or to leave a message of condolence, visit www.eatonwatsonfuneralhome.com. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 North Main Street, Perry, NY 14530.

Editor's Note: Gerald and Valarie could always be seen in the family pew with Pamela, Stone and Winston at Perry First United Methodist Church and continue to be loved. Gerry will be sorely missed. Both were supporters of the Arts at the Silver Lake Institute and Valarie was active in painting and participating in the Annual Show in August. Valarie's presence was always valued and appreciated.

KATHARINE E. PRACZKAJLO ("Kathy P.")

KATHARINE E. PRACZKAJLO ("Kathy P.")
"Kathy P." passed November 8, 2021, of Hamburg and Boston, NY. Beloved daughter of Joseph and Barbara Michalak; loving sister of Daniel Michalak; devoted wife of the late Jeffrey Praczkajlo; cherished mother of Jennifer (Shawn) Jump; loving babcia of Lily Jump; also survived by many beloved family members and friends who became her family. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Editor's Note: "Kathy P." as she was better known to us at Silver Lake was an annual summer visitor for most of the last number of years at the invitation of Silver Laker Julia Hoffner. She stayed at the Hoffner Cottage, and became known as both the fun visitor with the vivacious smile to the neighbors at the intersection of Haven Ave. and the Ames Walkway. Kathy P. and Julie could be seen walking and talking between the cottage and the Hoffner boathouse where they could be close to the water. She was also occasionally seen at the Saturday morning breakfasts at Stoody Hall. Her stay was anywhere between 4 days and a week where she had the opportunity to develop a love for Silver Lake. She was not yet eligible for retirement when late last week she developed "a cold" and had to remain home from her job. She did not update her condition over the weekend so the local police made a wellness visit and found her deceased on Monday. She was one of those many people who found Silver Lake and friendship for brief respites where she also found new strength and energy to return to work. She is being particularly mourned by those in the Haven/Ames neighborhood. She will be memorialized next summer at the annual Celebration of Life Memorial Service at Epworth Hall.

BRENDA J. PADDOCK

BRENDA J. PADDOCK
Brenda Joan Paddock, 82, of Perry, born April 15, 1939, now resides in heaven with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Brenda met Jesus as her Savior in 1965. She met him in person on Nov. 14, 2021. She had a beautiful homecoming with music, singing and praying, leading her into Glory. Her last words were “I am well, I am well.”

Brenda’s greatest loves were her family and friends. Brenda had five children with her husband Roger: Don and Daelene Paddock of Florida, Jody and Tim Von Sanden of Pavilion, Bradley and Jeanie Paddock of Warsaw, Jennifer and Paul Guy of Massachusetts, and Nathan and Jill Paddock of Perry.

Brenda dearly loved her grandchildren: Jessica Morillo, Nikki and Clint O’Brien, Luke Paddock, Paul Paddock, Ian and Brooklyn Paddock, Joe and Louana Paddock, Burke and Megan Paddock, Aaron Paddock, Ellen Paddock, Andrew Paddock, Rachael Paddock, Abigail Paddock, Erik and Cassandra Von Sanden, Jacquelyn and Michael Jones, Tim Von Sanden, Brandon and Brandee Paddock, Jamey and Laura Paddock, Peter and Kara Guy, Candy and Jay Waitkevich, Marlo and Ryan Bolger and Jenna and Rory Peterson.

Brenda was blessed and loved her great grandchildren: Chloe, Olivia and Nicholas Von Sanden, Joshua and Jaxon Morillo, Jameson and Cassandra O’Brien, Atlas Paddock, Noah and Ezra Jones, Colton, Brantley and Charlotte Guy, Cameron Waitkevich, Amelia Bolger and Brennen Leonard.

Brenda is also survived by her brother and sister in laws; Frank and Emma Paddock, Viva and Jim Phillips-Richardson and Kurt and Lynn Paddock.

Brenda first started working as a secretary at Perry Central School. She then assisted her husband building Paddock’s Breeding Service. Roger and Brenda together built and ran the Sandsabarn teenage nightclub. Brenda was owner and operator of Serendipity Travel. Brenda’s pleasures included playing organ and piano. She played at a number of area churches along with performing for her loved ones. UPDATED -- Brenda also played with conviction at both indoor and outdoor services at the Silver Lake Institute where her grandson, Luke, sang at Epworth Hall on several occasions and was appreciated by all who heard his inspiring voice.

Brenda was preceded in death by her parents Noble and Freda Buckland, her husband Roger and son Bradley.

A Committal service at West Perry Cemetery will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, November 17 at 11 a.m., followed by a Celebration of Life at LaGrange Baptist Church at 4 p.m.

Memorial donations may be made in Brenda’s honor to the LaGrange Baptist Church 7092 LaGrange Rd. Perry, NY 14530 or to the First Congregational Church P.O. Box 156 Perry, NY 14530. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 N. Main St., Perry, N.Y. 14530. For more information or to sign the online guest registry please visit www.eatonwatsonfuneralhome.com.

AUGUST 4-7, 2022

AUGUST 4-7, 2022
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