Medical marijuana company set to open in Montgomery

MONTGOMERY – PharmaCann, the Illinois-based medical marijuana company that won a license to operate a plant in Orange County, is ready to move into its new home on Neelytown Road and start growing cannabis.

Workers were putting finishing touches on the 180,000-square-foot production house last week.

The plant sits on nearly 42 acres at the Hudson Valley Crossing corporate park. It will house greenhouses, a processing center and administrative and security offices.

Jeremy Unruh, general counsel and chief compliance officer of the company, said planting and production would start by early May.
PharmaCann is fairly new to the medical marijuana business. Started by former partners in a Chicago law firm, the company received its first medical marijuana license in Illinois in February 2015. It built an 80,000-square-foot plant in Dwight, Illinois, within months and was harvesting in September. It has another plant in Hillcrest, Illinois, which had its first harvest last week.

The company has been just as quick in New York, where its application was among five selected by the state on July 31. It is already growing and processing cannabis in two trailers at the site because New York state required the company to begin production and sale within six months of receiving the license.

“The state had an ambitious timeline of six months from the award of the license to the time we began operations," Unruh said in an email. "We met the state’s expectations with our temporary growing facility, and are now eager to exceed the state’s expectations by transitioning into our state-of-the-art permanent greenhouses."

Inside, 16 “cultivation centers” - eight of them 7,000 square feet and the others half the size - await cannabis plants that will be grown from cuttings from mother plants.

Placed on mesh trays that are 6 feet by 40 feet in size, the plants will be sprayed with mist. They'll draw additional light from overhead lamps and heat from hot water pipes running underneath them. Enormous window fans will circulate the air and swamp-cooler-like contraptions will keep the hothouses humid.

The controlled conditions will allow PharmaCann to reap five harvests per year instead of the one that is typical in nature, said Unruh.
Once the plants are harvested, they will be dehydrated on site, oil will be extracted, and the product will be converted into capsules, tinctures, vape cartridges and other more sophisticated delivery devices, said Unruh.

PharmaCann will dispense the drug in Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany and the Bronx.

Another company, Etain LLC, operates a dispensary in the Town of Ulster.

Security will be an essential component of the production process, as required by the state.

Consequently, said Unhur, each cannabis plant will have a bar code that will allow it to be tracked from planting through the production process and delivery to medical marijuana dispensaries.
PharmaCann plans to apply for medical marijuana licenses in other states where medical cannabis is viewed as a medical endeavor, said Unruh.

"We want to be in states that are looking for best-practice, professional medical cannabis companies," he said.