FULTON COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Vireo Health has its eyes on the prize, and although it doesn’t look like much now, the 95 acre plot next to the medical marijuana company’s existing Fulton County facility could be the perfect spot to set up shop and start expanding into recreational marijuana. New York General Manager Kaitlyn Nedo says the first order of business would be to completely demolish the existing structures and build from the ground up.
“These buildings have been vacant for quite some time and they’re also just not suited to our needs,” Nedo says. “We really enjoy working in our current facility, but it is completely retrofitted from the Tryon Juvenile Detention Facility and positioning our entire grow operation around the current structure, it would be too difficult to expand it.”
Purchasing and construction can’t begin until New York State starts laying out regulations, but Nedo says it should be an easy transition. The company already grows marijuana rather than hemp for its medical products and can already fit more than 2000 mature plants in its greenhouses.
“We would take cuttings from our existing mother stalks for the recreational market. The end product may be prepared differently whether it be whole bud or potentially new products that have not been allowed in the market currently,” Nedo explains to NEWS10’s Mikhaela Singleton. “There are a lot of edibles that are not allowed in the current structure, drinks and things like that.”
The 10 existing medical marijuana companies in New York State will also be the only ones allowed to continue growing, producing, and selling their own range of medical and eventually recreational cannabis.
“We zone each room dependent on the growth cycle, so we have seen the clone room that is a illicitly for clones. We have the vegetative room that’s just for plants that are being prepared to move up to the greenhouse, and then we also have indoor flower rooms,” Nedo says.
Vireo Health leaders say the expansion could bring around 250 jobs to the Fulton County area. They’re grateful the new law lets them explore bigger business, but they also believe bringing marijuana out into the light is safer for everyone.
“The most important part is knowing that those products have been third-party tested, that they are safe to consume, that they are free from those contaminants and chemicals that we would see in an illicit market,” explains Dr. Stephen Dahmer, Chief Medical Officer for Vireo Health. “It’s important for our consumers to be able to trust that what’s in a product really is what’s in it, and also know it’s safe from pesticides or biological agents like bacteria or fungi that could be really harmful to a person.”
Dr. Dahmer says the existing testing and verification structure for medical marijuana products will likely be mirrored in the regulations formed by the Cannabis Control Board and Office of Cannabis Management.