PharmaCann expanding operations with $130M facility in Montgomery
Executives with one of the country's largest cannabis companies said Wednesday they are expanding their Orange County operations in anticipation of a 2024 retail market much larger than the 28 dispensaries currently authorized to operate.
PharmaCann execs toured media and public officials around the company's new cannabis production facility in Montgomery, just upgraded to the tune of $130 million. The private company, which has been authorized to cultivate and sell medical cannabis since 2016, just applied for a license to sell recreational products to dispensaries.
"It's an opening industry, and I'm very happy to be on what I think is the ground floor of it, and it's only going to expand," said Post Harvest Team's Connor Devine,
Company leaders expect their workforce to grow from 90 employees to 250 once the expansion is complete and the state's recreational market is up and running.
PharmaCann execs and public officials acknowledged the state's Office of Cannabis Management must fix its social equity dispensary licensing program, which is bogged down in court. Under the program, more than 400 of the first licenses were awarded to applicants with cannabis-related convictions. Most of those licensees have found themselves in limbo, as they continue to pay staff and pay rent on their dispensary locations. State Supreme Court Judge Kevin Bryant issued an injunction blocking nearly all of the social justice applicants from opening while lawsuits challenging the licensing program's constitutionality play out.
The OCM has since changed its licensing policy, opening applications to all applicants on Oct. 4 and wrote in its application guidance that the social justice applicants who are in limbo may want to reapply. PharmaCann is among a group of companies suing the OCM over the social justice licensing program.
PharmaCann senior vice president for external affairs Jeremy Unruh told News 12 he supports the OCM's plan to eventually award half of all licenses to applicants who have been affected negatively by "the failed War on Drugs," but did not support the agency's plan to award the first 400+ licenses exclusively to social justice applicants before even allowing other companies to apply.
"It's largely incumbent upon the state to figure out he process for these smaller, potentially early licensees who are stuck in the pipeline," Unruh said.
A spokesperson for the OCM said Wednesday none of the agency's administrators were available to comment for this story.
PharmaCann expects to be selling to dispensaries as early as Dec. 29.