We have been following the industrialization of cannabis manufacturing as the cannabis industry expands rapidly into a booming multi-billion-dollar business. An indicator of where things are heading is the large-scale expansion of MedMen, which is multiplying its production capability by creating three ultra-modern cannabis manufacturing operations in Nevada, California, and New York.
MedMen launched the first of its new large-scale cannabis factories in April in Sparks, Nevada. At the opening ceremony, MedMen CEO Adam Bierman described the plant as the most advanced cannabis facility in the world.
In May, MedMen began construction of a factory in Desert Springs, California, which is scheduled to open in 2019. A third factory will be built in Utica New York starting sometime this year.
The Desert Hot Springs and Utica facilities will duplicate the $15 million Nevada plant, which features a 26,000-square-foot greenhouse with a fully controlled environment and a 19,000-square-foot manufacturing wing. Each factory will be capable of producing 10,000 pounds of high-quality cannabis annually.
Raising the Bar with Agriscience
MedMen’s Nevada plant produces premium-grade cannabis products using the latest agronomic technology and sustainable techniques. The facility features state-of-the-art greenhouses manufactured in Holland, within which the company employs advanced growth methods while adhering to standards of the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.
The cannabis plants are raised in a closed-loop, completely controlled environment in which computers monitor the temperature, humidity, and light to which the plants are exposed. All water used in the growing and processing of cannabis plants is recycled, and no pesticides are used.
Contamination is kept to a minimum by requiring workers to don lab coats, scrubs, shoe slip-ons, and hair nets, and to immerse their hands in special scouring machines before entering the work environment.
Quality Control & Cloning
An advanced cultivation technique employed in the MedMen plant is a tissue culture lab that multiplies the cannabis plants through micro-propagation. Exceptional strains of cannabis plants are divided into multiple pieces to replicate them exactly and ensure consistency across all products.
After a plant is divided, its pieces are regrown in a growth chamber for 20-40 days before being transferred to an acclimatization/vegetation room. The plants are nurtured in a flowering room with a 25,000-plant capacity that makes the facility one of the largest cannabis manufacturing facilities in operation. Lighting is adjusted to suit different phases of the growing process.
State-of-the-art machinery pervades the entire MedMen operation. The trim room features a floor-to-ceiling safe that stores up to 1,000 pounds of flower and huge grinding and rolling machines that crush the flower and pump out thousands of pre-rolls.
The extraction room houses a double-barreled extractor nicknamed “Mustang Sally” that compresses CO2 in the cannabis and produces crude terpenes.
The refining room has most of its equipment enclosed in glass so that staff can view all stages of the process of refining terpenes, CBDs, and other extracts.
The facility also includes an in-house laboratory to ensure consistency and plant optimization. Test samples are taken throughout the manufacturing process to determine whether all cannabinoids are being extracted from the plant material, whether the potency is in the target range, and whether all impurities have been removed.
The facility has two kitchens that produce chocolates and baked goods. Over time, MedMen plans to produce tinctures, lotions, edibles, and drinks under its own unique brand, similar to Costco’s Kirkland line.
Setting the Standard
MedMen says it is “writing the book on the modern cannabis industry, from how facilities are designed and constructed to setting the bar on quality and excellence.”
Besides creating world-class manufacturing facilities, the company is raising the bar on dispensaries as well. In April, MedMen opened a new flagship retail outlet on Fifth Avenue in New York City that mimics the look and feel of Apple stores. The elegantly designed shop is staffed by well-trained sales assistants and equipped with iPads for customers to browse and research products.
MedMed currently operates 12 cannabis outlets in California, Nevada, and New York, and plans to expand the number of dispensaries in Nevada from one to three. The company’s Sun Valley facility is used primarily as a research and development site to test different cultivation techniques and technology, such as LED lights.
As The Cannabis Trend Report 2018 notes, driven by a revolution in cannabis research and farming techniques, the marijuana industry in five years will look very different than it does today. MedMen is among the companies leading the way in developing the manufacturing techniques that will make the next generation of cannabis production a reality.
As the maker of the most modern, integrated, and scalable cannabis manufacturing solution, MaxQ has deep cannabis industry expertise. Contact us to learn more about the latest trends and management solutions in the cannabis manufacturing industry.