The state of New York has will be turning a former federal prison site into a cannabis production facility and a modern cannabis campus. The site, located in Warwick, New York, will be done by Green Thumb Industries and is valued at $150 million.
Prior to the establishment of a cannabis facility, Forbes reveals that the site had evolved from one establishment to another, with it being a witness to the changing drug landscape. It initially served as a drug and alcohol treatment center in 1914.
Meanwhile, in the 1930s, the site was transformed into a reform school designed to rehabilitate boys called the New York State Training School for Boys. In the 1970s, Forbes shared that the site had been used as a federal prison, being closed in 2011 by Governor Andrew Cuomo at the time, leading to 400 jobs being lost.
According to Green Entrepreneur, the main goal behind the establishment of a cannabis campus was to help generate hundreds of jobs and to help underserved communities. High Times states that the salaries to be provided to these workers or employees will range from $50,000 to $100,000.
The groundbreaking ceremony was held weeks ago on September 9, 2021. In attendance were both local and regional authorities, as well as founder and chief executive officer of Green Thumb Industries Ben Kovler. Green Thumb Industries is considered one of the biggest producers of marijuana in the United States.
The decision to turn the former penitentiary in Warwick, New York into a cannabis campus facility comes after the state legalized recreational marijuana. The facility is slated to be used for cannabis production, with the campus expected to make tens of thousands of cannabis, reports Forbes. It is expected to be around 200,000-square-foot.
In addition to marijuana production, Forbes states the facility will also be used to manufacture other cannabis products such as THC-infused gummies and vape cartridges. All of these cannabis-related production events are slated to happen by 2023. In addition to a manufacturing plant, a cultivation facility is also planned for the site, notes the High Times.
In a statement, Kovler said, “The irony of building a cannabis facility near the grounds of what used to be a federal prison is not lost on us. We understand what happened with the War on Drugs. And we’re planning to flip that around.”
“Change is really in the air; change is happening in the country; change is happening here. And we’re able to go from a place where people used to be locked up for marijuana [to one] where we’re going to employ people and enable opportunity, create wealth and create a positive environment,” continued Kovler.
The same sentiments are echoed by Senator Michael Martucci who was also present at the groundbreaking ceremony. In a statement, the senator said, “Our fertile soil, educated workforce and close proximity to New York City sets us up to be the Silicon Valley for the cannabis industry.”
Warwick town supervisor Michael Sweeton, who High Times states is responsible for convincing the state of New York to sell 150 acres of the site, also expressed happiness over the venture. Sweeton said that the move was considered a “brave new world,” given that it would provide property and sales tax breaks to the town.