What was once a medium-security prison that housed about 1,000 inmates in Warwick will become a fully operating cannabis cultivation site by 2023.
Green Thumb Industries, a Chicago-based cannabis operator, began construction on Thursday for a Hudson Valley facility at the former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility site located on John Hicks Drive, joining Citiva Medical which has already begun building a greenhouse and processing facility there, and Kaycha Labs NY, a medical cannabis and hemp testing facility.
In this year’s legislative session, New York legalized adult recreational use of cannabis, prompting manufacturers to begin developing plans for cannabis growing and production sites in the region. In the Town of Wawarsing, Cresco Labs last month proposed a cannabis cultivation facility, promising 300 to 400 jobs once construction starts in 2022.
“It’s sort of a full circle moment,” said CEO and founder of Green Thumb Industries Ben Kovler. “The whole concept of the cannabis business built on top of doing what we’re doing for gainful employment does not make a lot of sense,” he explained, given the country’s historic criminalization of cannabis. “The fact there are still people in jail across the nation is a problem.” Kolver said that Green Thumb wants to continue to employ people who have been incarcerated, as they have done at other facilities.
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