Behind the Scenes at Medical Marijuana Grow Facility Under Construction

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Construction is well underway on the first legal marijuana growing facility in the state. The 10-million-dollar building will eventually be producing all of Iowa’s medical marijuana.

The facility must be producing cannabidiol by December 1, which means growing has to start soon.

MedPharm Iowa is completing their facility in phases. The first phase which includes the security desk, office space, and mother chamber will be completed by mid-April. The mother chamber will hold the plants they use to grow the first batch of production plants. While construction continues in other areas of the building, phase one will be sealed off.

“We'll be able to close that entire area off and prevent access, again, unless you're authorized to be in there. Once we've finished with phase two it'll be about time for those plants to move into that phase anyway” said Lucas Nelson of Kemin Industries. Kemin is the lead consultant for MedPharm Iowa.

Phase two includes the construction of environmentally controlled vegetative rooms and flower rooms; the plants in the flower rooms can reach heights of 10 feet.

“They'll spend roughly 10 weeks in those rooms, and then at that point in time we actually change the lights in the rooms. That shocks the plants into producing the buds and flowers that we all know fairly well” said Nelson.

While the flowers grow, construction will finish on phase three.  That includes rooms for drying the plants, extracting the oil, and turning the oils into products for shipping.

“At every step along the way we'll be tracking these plants but also making sure that we've implemented every bit of quality control that we possibly can” said Nelson.

The facility will produce both CBD and THC based products.  They'll be in the form of pills, oils, and creams. MedPharm Iowa says around 300 people have been approved for their medical marijuana card at last count. Initially they'll be able to supply around 1,000 patients, and when the facility is complete around 6,000 patients. However, MedPharm says if demand is higher they're able to expand.

“We've put together this facility in a very quick nature and we'll able to do so with any expansion, up to 30,000 more square feet of expansion space that I think would really help us finally be able to meet the market demand if it does exceed what we're expecting” said Nelson.

Security features of the grow facility include key card entry, 24/7 cameras, motion sensors, bio-metric locks, and of course, security personnel.

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