WARWICK, R.I. — A new cannabis cultivator in Rhode Island recently launched a new facility to produce and distribute premium and rare products.
Ocean State Controlled Botanicals launched Hangar 420, its cannabis innovation, production, and distribution facility in Warwick. The facility has 10,000 square feet of licensed production space with the flexibility to scale production and capacity with growing demand to more than 18,000 square feet.
Executives said they have plans to grow exotic strains onsite, including Do Si Sherbert, a indica dominant hybrid that provides relief to physical ailments, and Crescendo, a sativa-dominant hybrid.
“We source some of the best genetics in the country. Finding new, great strains is part of our model,” Joe Dilley, Hangar 420′s director of postproduction, said in an interview Tuesday. He explained that some employees began growing plants last summer, which are now ready to go to the medical market. “And we will 100 percent go out of way to find the best strains possible.”
Dilley said the facility will create dozens of jobs, which will add to their experienced team of 12 growers and operators, during a pivotal time in the state’s cannabis industry.
Rhode Island lawmakers are expected to introduce legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana during this session. Dilley said the scalability of the facility could be a benefit to the state as new licenses come out to accommodate recreational use.
“We are extremely proud of what we have developed at Hangar 420, with a next-generation facility bolstered by an extraordinary team in the heart of Rhode Island,” said Octavius Prince, chief executive and founder of Hangar 420, in a prepared statement. “This presents a unique opportunity for us to participate in the explosive growth of the multi-billion-dollar cannabis market and we are well positioned and capitalized as an innovation leader in helping to define this industry.”
If lawmakers push off legalizing recreational marijuana for adult use to another year, Dilley said it would be Rhode Islanders seeking employment that would hurt. Massachusetts has had marijuana for adult use legalized for the last few years, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont signed adult use into law last summer.
“Right now, [Rhode Island] is losing employees to Massachusetts. Soon, we could lose them to Connecticut. These are good paying jobs with a lot of opportunity for growth,” said Dilley, who previously worked in the cannabis industry in both Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, his home state. Prior to working in the cannabis industry, he was a corporate chef.
Dilley said the company plans to lay the groundwork for expected growth. According to market researcher BDSA, cannabis sales topped $17 billion last year, which represents a 46 percent growth in the market year-over-year. By 2026, the market research firm predicted that the legal US cannabis market will reach $41 billion in annual sales, which is about the size of the craft beer industry.
In the coming months, Dilley said Hangar 420 plans on launching its edibles program, which will likely come to market this summer, including his cannabis potato chips, among other items.