KMBC got an exclusive look inside a facility that produces the crop that yields all that cash.
Every few weeks, thousands of plants grow in this non-descript concrete building that used to be a Pepsi plant. They’ll produce roughly 550 pounds of pot – all of it now legal in the state of Missouri.
Visitors may smell the Greenlight facility before they ever see it, and to the Director of Operations for Cultivation and Manufacturing – that’s the smell of money.
And the smell, the plants, and the profits are growing – row after row after row.
A SCALABLE BUSINESS AND A SCIENCE
Legalizing marijuana definitely put Greenlight into the black. “Our margins increased and our numbers increased,” explained Chapman. “But, you know, behind that is now we’re flipping on more rooms. So my power bill, like at this particular location, went from $50,000 a month to about $85,000 a month – just to ramp up.”
He continued, “people think it’s cannabis, there’s cash behind it; they don’t really understand the operating cost.”
“I’m figuring out all these different fertilizer ratios,” said three-year employee Frank Lillig, “and how much each plant is going to want and need.”
He started going over the math for the room he stood in. “How much water is coming out of these drippers at the end of the day? How many times can i actually water knowing I’ve got 6,000 gallons of water on standby?”
The Green Light facility not only grows the plants. With it’s 530 employees in the facility and the dispensaries around the area, Greenlight harvests the thousands of plants and dries them on site in climate controlled rooms. To protect the product and the people, more than 280 cameras are set up around the room.
Then, employees package up the marijuana in various forms.
Some roll it into paper – the more familiar method. Chapman points out Green Light’s consumer “tends to be a someone from the age of 40 to actually early 60’s. I think we’ve got a lot of baby boomers that are, you know, wanting to partake like they used to.”
Green Light now also puts the marijuana into food on site. Chapman, a former chef, worked to make the recipes for the dessert treats and the gummies, which appeal to a new generation.
Marijuana was illegal for recreational use in Missouri until Amendment 3 passed in November of 2022. It couldn’t be bought legally in the Show-Me State until February of 2023. It is still illegal in neighboring Nebraska, Kansas, and Idaho.
But thanks to places like Greenlight, marijuana growth and cultivation is becoming a viable commercial industry.
Cities and counties are counting on this cannabis to fund millions of municipal projects.
Voters in cities and counties across Cass and Jackson counties approved adding a 3% tax to marijuana sales. That includes voters in Cass and Jackson counties, Blue Springs, Harrisonville, Grandview, Kansas City, and Smithville. Each will use the tax dollars in different ways. Liberty plans on dedicating the money to its emergency responders. Blue Springs will use it to repair its roads.
There is a legal question about whether a county can stack its own tax on top of a city tax. Those won’t be collected until October 1st, giving experts time to sort out the details.
But for places like Green Light, there is no change – only growth.
Featured image: Richard T.