On a patch of tribal land in western New Mexico, a company plans to build a $160 million state-of-the-art greenhouse for researching and growing medicinal plants, including marijuana.
Bright Green Group of Companies is partnering with Acoma Pueblo on what would be the nation’s largest commercial growing operation, by far dwarfing medical marijuana greenhouses already planned in Massachusetts, Illinois and California.
Plans call for Bright Green’s greenhouse and its associated research facility to eventually cover nearly 6 million square feet, or about 100 football fields. Officials at the Delaware-based company say they would have room for as many as 40 million medicinal plants, from marijuana to pennywort and Indian ginseng.
While marijuana is expected to make up a significant portion of the operation, supporters of the project say the business plan was originally designed to sustain itself by producing oils used for various remedies already popular in the homeopathic world.
“We’re just in the process of building our facilities so we’ll be customizing our crops to what the market is most receptive to, but it’s definitely an important part of this,” Bright Green chief operating officer Clarity Patton said of marijuana’s role in the venture.
The multibillion-dollar industry is expected to continue its upward trajectory as voters in more states embrace the idea of legalizing marijuana, market researchers say. Eight states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for recreational use, while New Mexico and more than two dozen states have medical marijuana programs.