As cannabis continues to cultivate space in New York, a massive facility is set to break ground in the Hudson Valley.
Cresco Labs will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for Ulster County complex on Thursday.
The event will draw a horde of politicians, including some who once celebrated law enforcement crackdowns on cannabis operations.
Chicago-based Cresco is redeveloping a former Schrade knife factory at 11 Aluminum Drive in Ellenville. The complex will include space for cultivation, processing, packaging and distribution of cannabis.
The first stage of the development involves building renovations, which will employ 75 full-time workers. The second will erect a new building spanning 380,000 square feet and requiring 375 full-time construction workers.
Cresco Labs’ operations in New York involve cultivating, manufacturing, wholesaling and distributing cannabis to licensed dispensaries. It also operates dispensaries under the Sunnyside moniker.
The groundbreaking comes as New York struggles to open its first legal dispensaries. Meanwhile, smoke shops have become a popular tenant in town as they sell cannabis illegally in advance of the state-sanctioned openings.
The situation has put landlords in a difficult position. They must decide whether to wait for legitimate dispensaries or lease to illegal ones — with both options carrying some legal risk. Selling cannabis without a license is against the law, but enforcement on the law essentially stopped after the state legalized cannabis for recreational use last March.
Cresco Labs is looking to secure a foothold in New York’s potentially massive cannabis market. The company already operates dozens of dispensaries across the country.
In November, Cresco opened a flagship Sunnyside dispensary a stone’s throw from Wrigley Field in Chicago. The 10,000-square-foot weed shop is 10 times the size of the company’s former medical marijuana dispensary, which it operated before Illinois legalized recreational use.