Cannabis corporations are rushing to meet what is expected to be a “tidal wave” of demand in New York and New Jersey.
In New York and New Jersey, the race is on to grow legal weed.
In Orange County, N.Y., there are plans to build a large cannabis cultivation and processing plant on the grounds of a defunct state prison.
About 25 miles south, over the border in New Jersey, an industrial complex once owned by the pharmaceutical giant Merck will be converted into an even bigger marijuana-growing hub.
In Winslow, N.J., about 30 miles outside Philadelphia, a new indoor cultivation complex just celebrated its first harvest.
The advent of legalized adult-use marijuana in New York and New Jersey is an entrepreneur’s dream, with some estimating that the potential market in the densely populated region will soar to more than $6 billion within five years.
But the rush to get plants into soil in factory-style production facilities underscores another fundamental reality in the New York metropolitan region: There are already shortages of legal marijuana.
Within New Jersey’s decade-old medical marijuana market, the supply of dried cannabis flower, the most potent part of a female plant, has rarely met the demand, according to industry lobbyists and state officials. At the start of the pandemic, as demand exploded, it grew even more scarce, patients and business owners said.
The supply gap has narrowed as the statewide inventory of flower and products made from a plant’s extracted oils more than doubled between March of last year and this spring. Still, patients and owners say dispensaries often sell out of popular strains.
“There’s very little stock,” said Shaya Brodchandel, the chief executive of Harmony Foundation in Secaucus, N.J., and president of the New Jersey Cannabis Trade Association. “Almost no wholesale. As we harvest we’re putting it straight into retail.”
Harmony purchased the former Merck