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$15M marijuana facility opens near Reno

Updated April 15, 2018 - 8:49 pm

SPARKS — After being in the works for nearly two years, a state-of-the-art marijuana factory in northern Nevada’s high desert is up and running.

The opening of the $15 million MedMen facility east of the Reno-Sparks area marks a goal of the company to change the conversation surrounding marijuana, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported this week.

MedMen CEO Adam Bierman said he hopes the factory will demonstrate how the industry has transformed and legitimized. The company itself transformed from a startup to a major player in the industry.

The 45,000-square-foot facility resembles more of a research lab than a factory. More than half the facility’s space is greenhouse, which features advanced machinery and lighting that can be fine-tuned to produce environments more conducive for marijuana growth.

The facility also includes an analytics lab, rooms for extracting the active properties of the plants and a tissue culture lab, which allows staff to clean and snip plants to increase yields through micro propagation.

“If you look at other agricultural crops, the beginning process is actually in the tissue culture process,” said Dan McClure, the factory’s cultivation manager. “We’re taking technologies that exist and bringing them to cannabis.”

The greenhouse has a modular system that allows racks of 600 plants to be easily moved to rooms corresponding with the stage of the plants’ growth. The environments of each section can be altered to better suit the plants in different growth cycles.

By having control over the environments, it allows for better predictability and consistency in quality as well as increasing plant yields.

“This is not your mother’s greenhouse in the backyard,” said Daniel Yi, the company’s senior vice president of corporate communications. “This is a hermetically closed, fully controlled environment with temperature controls and LED lighting to supplement sunlight.”

The facility’s flowering room can store up to 25,000 marijuana plants, resulting in the ability to produce about 10,000 pounds (4,500 kilograms) of cannabis each year.

Some of the plants will be sold as buds and flowers while the rest will be used for edibles that are made in the factory’s bakery, Yi said.

The facility in Nevada is the first of three to be completed. The company is building similar facilities in Desert Hot Springs, California, and Utica, New York.

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