Exclusive look inside Rochester's medical marijuana factory


Take a look inside Columbia Care which is manufacturing medical marijuana in Rochester at Eastman Business Park. (May 14, 2018) Tina MacIntyre-Yee, @tyee23

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Casey Berg, is cultivation manager at Columbia Care, which has a dispensary in Rochester and a cultivation and manufacturing plant in a seperate building from the dispensary.(Photo: Tina MacIntyre-Yee/@tyee23/staff photographer)Buy Photo

Story Highlights Plants are cloned, and it takes about 18 weeks for a clipping to fully bloom Every step of process is regulated by New York state Average age of Columbia Care New York customers is 54 In two years, the growing and manufacturing expanded from s from four rooms to 48,000 square feet

The electronic latch released with a click and Corey Hewitt opened the door onto a searingly bright room filled wall to wall with rows of lush, green marijuana plants.

“This is not Cheech and Chong’s garage,” said Hewitt, who is in charge of the growing, manufacturing and sale of medical marijuana to patients for Columbia Care New York.

This is the bloom room, where plants spend a couple of months producing robust buds that will be harvested and crushed to extract oil that is turned into medicine.

Scientists with degrees in fields such as biology, botany, biomedical engineering, forestry, chemistry and packaging science oversee each step. Until now, seeing how they do it has been like trying to peer through the impenetrable brick of the building itself: The hulking Building 12 at Eastman Business Park that houses cultivation and manufacturing operations.

Columbia Care is among 10 companies — and one of the original five — licensed by New York state to make and sell medical marijuana. Each company is allowed one manufacturing facility and four dispensaries. The

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