California cannabis company Glass House Brands announced last week that it has begun marijuana cultivation operations at its new 5.5 million square foot greenhouse in Southern California after receiving approval to open the facility from state and local regulators. The company received licenses from the California Department of Cannabis Control and Ventura County on March 11 and began cultivation operations at the massive facility the same day with the transfer of thousands of young plants from an existing site in Santa Barbara. A video shared by Glass House depicts the ceremonial transfer of the first clone to the facility by drone.
Glass House chairman and CEO Kyle Kazan says that the initial offerings from the new cultivation facility, which are expected to be ready for harvest in the third quarter of this year, include genetics representing several varietals popular with breeders and consumers.
“We’re thrilled to have delivered some of our favorite strains from some of the industry’s best breeders in our inaugural 30,000-clone delivery to the SoCal facility: First Class Funk, Jealousy x Kush Mints, Zkittlez x Kush Mints, and MAC1,” Kazan writes in an email. “As production ramps up, we’ll continue to explore new technologies and modalities of enjoying cannabis, which we believe in the long run will be the reason that the regulated marketplace outpaces the legacy market.”
Glass House is one of the fastest-growing, vertically integrated cannabis companies in the U.S., with cultivation, processing, distribution and retail operations in California, where voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2016. Late last year, the company expanded its presence into the cannabis edibles sector with the acquisition of Plus Products.
Glass House has earmarked cannabis grown at the facility for smokable marijuana products, which continue to be the favorite of most consumers. And as cannabis regulations continue to evolve, Kazan envisions new enterprises for the site.
“Right now, the production from the SoCal facility will be used for preroll and flower products, but we will be growing with technological innovation in mind,” Kazan explains. “Further, though it’s not legal yet, we aim to create a wholesale showroom and Napa-style “weed tasting” visitor experiences on the premises, as we anticipate public enthusiasm for the unique opportunity to see the largest cannabis facility in the world in full bloom.”
High-Tech Cannabis Cultivation
The new Southern California cultivation facility consists of six, high-tech, environmentally controlled agricultural greenhouses totaling approximately 5.5 million square feet, located on a 165-acre property in Ventura County. In the first phase of developing the facility from its previous use growing vegetables, Glass House has converted 1.7 million square feet to state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation. Included in the first phase retrofit is the conversion of two greenhouses, one of which will consist of a nursery for clones to support the entire facility and the other of which will be used for flowering and have a capacity of approximately 180,000 dry pounds of cannabis per year. The company is also building a packhouse for processing cannabis and a separate distribution center to support the cultivation operations.
“This is a momentous achievement for Glass House, one that we have been anxiously awaiting since completing the acquisition of the SoCal Facility six months ago,” Glass House president and chief cannabis officer Graham Farrar said in a statement from the company. “It is a true ‘Unicorn’ facility that will enable us to produce amazing sun-grown indoor quality at close-to-outdoor cost, providing a durable competitive advantage that allows us to be successful in any market condition.”
“In addition, the facility’s location in an ideal climate; as well as its solar and cogeneration capabilities make it significantly more energy-efficient, with remarkably lower carbon emissions compared to other greenhouse operations,” Farrar added. “We are very proud of the team, incredibly excited to have initiated planting, and are looking forward to our first harvest later this year. The speed with which the team executed our purchase-to-planting journey was truly impressive.”
Kazan characterized obtaining the licenses for the new cultivation facility as one of Glass House’s “most significant milestones to date.”
“With our first harvest only months away and the first phase of the retrofit of the SoCal Facility nearing completion, we are on track to becoming the leader in cannabis cultivation capacity,” he said in the statement from the company. “However, it is our best-in-class craft cannabis cultivation practices; and our high quality and low-cost production capabilities that will provide us with a competitive advantage in the world’s largest cannabis market.”