New York: Medical marijuana start-up plan

Growing marijuana was not Ted Berndt's first thought.

The 50-year-old has never even smoked pot. Not once. He swears.

He has an MBA, has worked in quality assurance for giant brewer Anheuser Busch and was a pharmaceutical company salesman. He had other ideas when he bought a 170-acre parcel with a 12-acre indoor-grow operation where button, shiitake and portobello mushrooms once grew. He rebranded it the Washington County Agri-Business Park and brought in tenants in dairy, maple and Christmas tree farming who needed space for storage and production.

But when state lawmakers passed legislation last year opening the doors for a medical marijuana program, something clicked. Berndt teamed up with 53-year-old Stephen Lulla, another Cambridge-area resident with an MBA whose experience included investment management, regulatory compliance and retail.

The space and the combination of their backgrounds seem to fit with a medical marijuana operation, they said.


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