SPARKS, Nev. — “Welcome, everybody, to undoubtedly the most high-tech marijuana factory in the world,” Adam Bierman, co-founder and CEO of MedMen, a Los Angeles-based cannabis company, said to a crowd of onlookers.
Standing in front of MedMen’s new 45,000-square-foot marijuana facility planted in Sparks, Bierman kicked off the ribbon-cutting ceremony — held Wednesday, April 11 — with a hop in his step.
“This facility,” Bierman continued, “sets the bar for Nevada’s fast-growing, important marijuana program. There’s no better place that we could’ve built this factory than right here.”
After all, Nevada has raked in more than $30 million in tax revenue from marijuana in its first six months of legal recreational sales, according to the Nevada Department of Taxation.
All told, nearly $200 million worth of recreational marijuana has been sold across the Silver State in the first six months of recreational sales, which fired up on July 1, 2017.
MedMen’s massive marijuana factory in Northern Nevada will only make the Silver State greener — in more ways than one.
The cultivation and production facility, dubbed MedMen Mustang, is set up to produce 10,000 pounds of high quality cannabis annually to supply Nevada’s rapidly budding recreational and medical marijuana market.
“Nevada is the premier marijuana program in the U.S. right now,” Bierman said. “I don’t think it gets enough credit. The foresight that the regulators have, the welcoming community, and the participation by the locals as well as the tourists has been overwhelming.
INSIDE THE FACTORY
The $15 million factory east of Reno features a 26,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art greenhouse manufactured in Holland and a flowering room with a 25,000-plant capacity.
The sustainably conscious irrigation system includes three large tanks that water is being pulled out of and put back into, said Don McClure, cultivation manager at MedMen Mustang.
“We capture all the water that comes off the crops, and it all flows back into the middle tank,” McClure said. “And that’s 100 percent pure water that we mix back in and we use. So we get 100 percent utilization of all our inputs.
“This really is best in class. When we say it’s unique within greenhouses, it’s on a global level. There aren’t really that many greenhouses that are geared toward this — and there’s nothing like this in cannabis.”
The expansive MedMen Mustang also includes butane and CO2 extraction rooms, bakery and chocolate kitchen rooms, a tissue culture lab to clone the plants and strains, and a high-tech test lab.
Jeff Spinder, manufacturing manager at MedMen Mustang, said the factory goes beyond standard extraction and testing.
“These devices weren’t designed and invented for our cannabis industry,” Spinder said. “In fact, we’ve taken these institutional pieces of equipment from other industries — especially chemicals, oil and gas — to apply the same equipment into this new burgeoning cannabis industry.
“Throughout the process we’re taking a lot of samples to understand if we’re getting as much yield as we want, if we’re getting all the cannabinoids out of the plant material, if we’re at the right potency that we’re targeting, if we have all of the impurities removed.”
Daniel Yi, VP of corporate communications at MedMen, said the facility is a “game-changer” for the entire cannabis industry.
“I think this is setting the standard,” Yi added. “This is setting the bar — and we’re setting the bar pretty high.”
MedMen also has assets and operations in California and New York. The cannabis company initially expanded to Nevada in early 2018 by acquiring a licensed dispensary in Las Vegas, one of three MedMen stores planned for Vegas.
Yi said MedMen’s factory in Sparks is serving as a model for all of its factories nationwide. Currently, he said, MedMen is replicating the factory in Utica, New York, and Hot Springs, California.