WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WKBW) — Inside Wheatfield Gardens greenhouses in North Tonawanda, rows of fresh, green hemp is growing.
“That is the mission now. We can fill the need,” said Wheatfield Gardens CEO Paul Elfstrum. Elfstrum says his company has been growing hemp for CBD and other products since it became legal in 2018. The company says it has the growing down to a science.
“If they want to have adult use cannabis on the shelves by next fall, we have to build a tremendous amount of supply,” he said.
Elfstrum says Wheatfield Gardens is gearing up to be a major supplier for the state and WNY area when it comes to adult use recreational marijuana. According to Elfstrum, the state will need to fill supply to reach its demand, and will look to greenhouses like Wheatfield Gardens.
He says the state will need 4 million square foot of cannabis growing space to do that. Currently, Wheatfield Gardens can supply 220,000 square foot of that.
“We’re looking at it from a commercial farming point of view,” he said.
Elfstrum says not only does Wheatfield Gardens want to be a wholesale supplier, it wants to be a resource for others who want to learn the professional development of growing hemp and cannabis.
“We’re trying to be this beacon for WNY entrepreneurs who want to get into this space,” he said.
There are still a lot of questions because the state still has not set parameters for regulation of this product. When it comes to safety regulations, growing regulations and other important measures.
Elfstrum says it takes 12 weeks to grow the hemp or marijuana plant, and there are four crop cycles per year. He anticipates being a major supplier, but wants to share his wealth of knowledge.
“We want people to come, learn, and start their smaller scale business and attract a local following,” he said.
Recreational marijuana has been legal for six months in New York, but it is not yet legal to grow, buy or sell.