Last spring, in advance of the opening of the first adult-use cannabis dispensaries, New York regulators began issuing cultivation licenses to farmers across the state.

Of the roughly 280 growers now licensed to grow marijuana, FlowerHouse is among the largest. Located an hour and a half north of Manhattan, the 40-acre property boasts 55,000 square feet of greenhouse space.

What You Need To Know

  • FlowerHouse, in Walden, New York, is one of the state’s roughly 280 licensed adult-use cannabis cultivators

  • The farm’s greenhouses, which control for light, temperature and moisture, allow the cannabis plant to grow year-round

  • FlowerHouse produces 3.5-ounce jars of raw, smokable “flower” and one-gram pre-rolled joints, which it distributes directly to dispensaries
  • Plant material also goes to extractors, who create the distillate that goes into vape cartridges, edibles and other products

Its founders have previous experience in California and other legal markets. And like many in the industry, founder Sid Gupta also has experience in the illicit market.

“I’ve been in the cannabis industry since I was a kid,” he said.

When Gupta and his partners took over the property last year, much of the infrastructure was already in place. For decades, the farm had been used to grow houseplants, flowers and herbs.

“Now it’s still an herb,” Gupta said. "It’s just a different herb. And we also have a lot of varieties of this herb.”

Co-founder Linsay Villareal oversees the grow operation. Cuttings from the so-called mother plants take root, then grow for eight weeks inside the greenhouse, which controls for light, temperature and moisture, allowing cannabis to grow year-round.

Villareal gave us an up-close look at the flowering buds on plants that were set to be harvested the following day.

“You can tell by the hairs on there, the changing of the trichomes, the scent, everything,” she said.

Plants are then hung in a drying room, before moving to the next stage in the process: a separate facility where the buds are hand-trimmed, then measured out into 3.5-gram portions, or one-eighth of an ounce.

The product then goes into glass jars, which are affixed with the FlowerHouse label. State regulations dictate that the label include THC levels, usage instructions, safety warnings and more.

“That’s what we print on there. It’s our test results, our batch information, the expiration date, the use-by date,” Villareal said, holding up a jar. “You have our tamper seal here, and so then everything that is compliant goes on here with the warning label.”

Then there are pre-rolled joints. Those, too, must be carefully measured — one gram apiece — before they are sealed and collected into batches for packaging.

“In this container, there’s a thousand pre-rolls that we have ready to get tubed,” she said, “and then labeled and then set for the shelves.”

Little of the cannabis flower goes to waste. Sifters are used to collect so-called shake left over from the process.

“As you can see, there’s still little micro-buds that we have in there,” she said. “So this is what we’ll send to the extractors to make vape pens, gummies, oil.”

In February, FlowerHouse made its first delivery to the Union Square Travel Agency on East 13th Street in Manhattan, one of the city’s first dispensaries. Every box is subject to a painstaking intake process.

Three days later, at its grand opening, the dispensary made FlowerHouse its first official sale.

“I think it’s important for New Yorkers to know and be proud of what we’re able to grow here,” Villareal said. “Just like all the food that’s produced here.”

“It’s possible here, you know?” she added. “It doesn’t have to be sunny California.”