November 15th Article 9 laboratories, A cannabis-based pharmacy franchisor broke ground for a $ 12.5 million expansion of its Coolidge cultivation and laboratory facility. The facility will expand its operating area from 19,200 square feet to over 640,000 square feet when fully expanded – an increase of 3,100%.
The first phase of development, which is expected to be completed in summer 2022, will expand the site by three buildings and two greenhouses.
“With the first phase of our expansion, we expect our high quality flower production to increase by 30-35%,” said Cory Carter, vice president of cultivation for Item 9 Labs Corp. “Our greenhouses will reduce reliance on third-party materials for laboratory productions by 40-50%.”
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Once the full expansion is completed over the next few years, the complex will include an expanded extraction laboratory, seven indoor grow buildings, 16 greenhouses, six headhouses, and five acres for outdoor growing.
Eric Eisele, Laboratory Manager of Item 9, explains that the new space will allow greater production of concentrates that extract resin from the cannabis plant that can be used in a variety of forms.
“Crude oil production is done on a large centrifugal ethanol recovery skid that is producing 60 pounds of product per hour. That’s quite a lot compared to the 60 pounds a day we started with, ”he says. “We used what was essentially a pressure vessel crystallization process that produced batches of 10 to 20 pounds, but through some process refinements we made in the lab, we moved to a few hundred. Pound bathes. We can push that even further in the new rooms. “
In addition, the laboratory expansion enables the company to participate in various extraction processes that diversify its product range. Eisele mentions that patients and customers enjoy concentrates because the user loses only 20% of the product’s tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the main chemical responsible for the euphoric effects of cannabis – while the smoking bloom results in a 50% THC loss leads.
“Every extraction process has its advantages and disadvantages,” says Eisele. “Depending on the variety, freshness, hardening and cut, you can obtain different end products from extraction material compared to freshly frozen whole blossoms. The ultimate goal of any process is to offer a highly effective end product. Our new facility will ensure that we are prepared for any desired result. “
All finished products go to a third-party supplier who not only checks for effectiveness, but also for pollutants such as heavy metals, pesticides and solvent residues.
“Each batch of flowers and concentrates must pass a multiple panel test before being packaged and sold to a licensed pharmacy. The external test laboratories are certified by the Arizona Department of Health Services, ”explains Eisele.
In the first expansion phase, 60 to 70 jobs are to be created in the cultivation, processing and packaging operations of Item 9, with the aim of creating more than 200 jobs when fully expanded.