Main Street yoga hub to grow, sell products

Over the past three years, Aaron Sanders and Skyla Schreter have turned LotusWorks on Main Street in Beacon into a hub for art exhibits and yoga and wellness classes. 

In March 2021, three months after LotusWorks opened at 261 Main St., the New York Legislature legalized recreational marijuana, whose effects have long been touted for inspiring creativity and providing relaxation and pain relief. 

“Cannabis has been aligned with these values of creativity and wellness,” said Schreter. “It fits with what we’ve already built here, as well as a sustainable way to help us support our creative community.” 

Aaron Sanders and Skyla Schreter of LotusWorks have become the first Beacon business to receive a cannabis license.
Aaron Sanders and Skyla Schreter of LotusWorks have become the first Beacon business to receive a cannabis license. (Photo by L. Sparks)

That synergy became reality on Feb. 16 when the state’s Cannabis Control Board approved 109 marijuana licenses and made LotusWorks the first Beacon business to receive one. The microbusiness permit will allow the couple to grow cannabis, process the trimmings into distillates and rosins, and sell buds, extracts and edibles. 

LotusWorks will plant its first crop in the spring of 2025. In the meantime, it will source buds, rosins and distillates, as well as joints and edibles such as gummies, from other farms and processors. A series of “soft-opening” events will conclude with a grand opening targeted for April 20, which is an annual holiday in cannabis culture.

“We’re looking to partner with local confectioners and chocolatiers and be able to have some nice premium edibles,” said Sanders.

The couple met in California, where Sanders spent years learning how to grow cannabis while employed at farms in the Emerald Triangle, a three-county region of Northern California considered the country’s largest area for producing marijuana. 

He said he will use that knowledge to grow “premium cannabis” next year, although he expects the initial harvest to be relatively small. Marijuana plants are “robust in a lot of ways — they grow like weeds — but they can also be delicate,” he said. “It will be nice to be able to give them a little more hands-on attention.”

LotusWorks is one of 15 newly licensed microbusinesses whose owners graduated from the state Office of Cannabis Management’s Compliance Training and Mentorship Program, a 10-week webinar series that covers growing and processing. 

There are 74 cannabis dispensaries open in New York, including Curaleaf in Newburgh. After New York State in March 2021 legalized cannabis for recreational use, the Beacon City Council allowed sales and on-site consumption by taking no action to prevent them; Cold Spring voters approved retail but turned down on-site consumption; and the Nelsonville and Philipstown boards voted to disallow both types, although they can change course with another vote.

The Cannabis Control Board also on Feb. 16 awarded 38 retail dispensary licenses, including one to Rawleaf Enterprises LLC in Wappingers Falls. In addition, the board issued licenses to grow and process marijuana to Harney Brothers in Millerton, in northeast Dutchess County.

The state is still considering the 2,232 businesses that applied before a Nov. 17 deadline for microbusiness or dispensary licenses. When the list of applicants was randomized to determine the order in which they would be reviewed, LotusWorks landed at No. 9.

“We were as prepared as we could have been, but we also very much got lucky and are grateful for that,” said Schreter.  

Kamel 663 Main St former jail
Kamel Jamal on the stoop of The Station (File photo)

The queue, released on Jan. 12, includes at least two other Beacon applicants. Kamel Jamal, who hosted state-approved “growers showcases” last year at the former Beacon police station at 463 Main St., has applied as 463 Station Inc. and is 574 in the queue. 

Grant McCabe, who owns The Leaf, a Main Street shop that sells cannabidiol and hemp products, is listed at 852 as The Leaf New York LLC. 

Another company, Pleasant View Harvest in Brewster, has applied for a microbusiness license to sell products from 137 Main St. in Cold Spring. The queue lists Pleasant View at 1,968.

In addition, the Cannabis Control Board on Feb. 16 approved regulations that will allow adults 21 and older to grow up to three mature and three immature cannabis plants, and each private residence to have up to six mature and six immature plants. 

The regulations, which are subject to a 60-day period for public comment, also will allow residents to possess up to 5 pounds of either buds, cannabis concentrate or a combination of the two.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

The Peekskill resident is a former reporter for the Times Herald-Record in Middletown, where he covered Sullivan County and later Newburgh. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Morgan State University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Location: Cold Spring. Languages: English. Area of Expertise: General.

Join the Conversation

8 Comments

  1. I thought this was supposed to help minorities and veterans. Typical Beacon: Take care of outsiders first. Beacon is now run by outsiders.

    1. Just to clarify a few things: If you couldn’t tell from our picture, we are a minority and woman-owned business, which is still a rarity in the cannabis industry. When we first built out our gallery space, it was the winter of 2020 when Main Street was crippled by the effects of COVID. But we stuck it out and made our space into something that has been a benefit to Beacon and its residents. We live here too, and have been consistently and continually dedicated to making Beacon a better place for all of its residents, both old and new. We sincerely hope that you take the time to get to know us before you make snap judgments. We are happy to be a part of this community and we appreciate everyone here who makes it such a great place to live.

  2. When New York State approved cannabis, it was with the express emphasis on reducing harm and restorative justice to affected communities and ethnic groups. We have yet to see that, and I expect we’ll be kept waiting for a long time. The Beacon city government should have disapproved anything to do with cannabis within its jurisdiction until NYS met its commitment to these communities. The state of New York is not unfamiliar with meeting its commitments. The New York State economic development fund is efficient in fulfilling its commitments on tax breaks, low-interest loans, and grants to real estate developers.

    1. To clarify once again, part of the reason we were able to receive our license approval, is because we are a minority and woman-owned business and social equity applicants. We worked very hard to have this opportunity, and the state of New York and the City of Beacon are helping to rectify the years of unjust treatment and the uneven playing field that I have faced throughout my life, not only as a legacy cultivator but as a person of color. I would hope that you can recognize and respect that, instead of making assumptions. I agree that there is more that can and should be done to remedy the wrongs of the past, but both NYS and the City of Beacon are moving in the right direction, and I am proud and grateful for this opportunity to be a symbol of that change.

  3. To emphasize once more, the Beacon city government should have disapproved anything to do with cannabis within its jurisdiction until NYS met its commitment to these communities. The state of New York is not unfamiliar with meeting its commitments. The New York State economic development fund is efficient in fulfilling its commitments on tax breaks, low-interest loans, and grants to real estate developers.

  4. Skyla and Aaron have contributed so much to the community of Beacon already. They are beautiful hard working artists and business owners. Congratulations to you two! You make our town a better place!

  5. As opposed to thousands who continue to be incarcerated by the state of New York for conducting business and using cannabis, pot, weed, ganja, the herb, source of wellness.

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