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Local Grower Hamilton Farms Enters NJ Cannabis Market

Cannabis flower from locally owned New Jersey licensed grower Hamilton Farms hit the market in time for the weed holiday 4/20 on Saturday.

The first deliveries include six strains: Critical Hog, Garlic Knots, Lamb’s Bread, Night Charmer, Slater’s Sweet Skunk, and Wet Betty #2.

According to them, every plant is cared for by experts who focus on patience and quality over mass production. The team uses organic supplements which promote plant health and a complex flavor.

Hamilton Farms is the 3rd but the most independent of the new exclusively adult-use growers. Prolific Growhouse and Garden Greens both utilized ties to corporate Multi-State Operators (MSOs) to get to market.

Find Hamilton Farms Cannabis Flower

Their flower will be at the following dispensaries first:

  1. Leaf Haus in Somerset in Franklin Township.
  2. HoneyGrove in Gloucester Township.

(Full disclosure Heady NJ has ad deals with Leaf Haus and Honey Grove).

  • Elevated by the CannaBoss Lady (is a Patreon supporter full disclosure).
  • Baked by the River in Lambertville.
  • Fire & Oak in Mt Holly.
  • Plantabis in Rahway.
  • Anja dispensary in Highland Park.
  • Earth and Ivy dispensary in New Brunswick
  • Eastern Green Dispensary in Voorhees.
  • OHM Theory in Elmwood Park.
  • Aunt Mary’s in Flemington.
  • Molly Ann Farms dispensary in Haledon.
  • Daylite Cannabis dispensary in Mount Laurel.
  • Dank Poet Dispensary in Washington Twp.
  • NJ Leaf in Freehold.
  • Highway 90 in Evesham.
  • Unity Rd in Somerset.
  • downtown FLWR in Jersey City.
  • Gynsyng in Merchantville.
  • Kind Kush in Rockaway.
  • Jersey Meds in Pennington.
  • Monteverde in Red Bank.
  • High Rollers Dispensary in Atlantic City.
  • Botera in Union Township.

Most of the dispensaries are majority locally owned independents.

Hamilton Farms calls itself a “locally owned craft cannabis cultivator dedicated to growing New Jersey’s highest-quality cannabis.”

Progress Made

“We’re grateful to all of our partner dispensaries for helping make this dream a reality,” Hamilton Farms Chief Operating Officer Kunal Lodaya said.

“We’re incredibly proud to be the smallest cultivator to grow and sell its cannabis in New Jersey. It is a testament to how hard our team has worked,” said CEO Rahul Patel. “We’re just happy to be … in the market and get everything out there. It’s definitely been a relief.”

Patel is from Piscataway in Central Jersey and now lives in Hudson County, while his partner Lodaya is from Voorhees in Camden County in South Jersey. They are both first-generation Indian Americans.

“It’s not like dollars and cents are driving our decision-making. Our cannabis a labor of love,” Patel declared.

Launching in South Jersey

Hamilton Farms is based in Millville in Cumberland County in South Jersey like many new and upcoming cannabis growers and manufacturers.

Hamilton Farms submitted a conditional cultivation application when the portal opened in December 2021. They were among the 1st New Jersey adult-use cannabis conditional license winners awarded by the NJCRC in March 2022.

Patel said they worked on their application for conversion to an annual license needed to open themselves, which saved money.

Hamilton Farms won conversion to an annual license needed to open in October 2022 from the NJCRC. They planted their first crop last December.

“We’re excited to be part of the market,” Patel said. “The kind of New Jersey cannabis community we want to see is one that supports one another.”

Growing Hamilton Farms Cannabis Flower

Hamilton Farms is growing inside 13,000 square feet of warehouse space divided into 2 flower rooms of 1500 sq ft a piece, a pump room, a cure room, and a bedroom for the plants.

“Our facility is a hybrid between living soil and salt-based nutrients,” Patel explained.

He said it’s uncommon in the cannabis growing industry to have a hybrid.

Head Grower Anthony Hagman was in the underground legacy market and got raided. Afterward he wanted to go into the legal market and did so in Colorado. Hagman has been guiding their efforts.

Three other employees came from MPX, and one graduated from Stockton University’s cannabis minor program.

“This is a small team of people who really care about what they’re doing,” Patel explained.

Harvesting Crops

They first harvested in March.

“We’re the small guys now. We’ll lose that mantle soon enough,” Patel said. The goal is not to grow so big we compromise on the process.”

“I’m optimistic as the several cultivators in the pipeline get to market that diversity will increase… and drive the price down,” Lodaya added.

Patel wants to have an exclusively living soil flower room in the future.

The Family Business of Hamilton Farms

In 2021, Patel and Lodaya were on vacation at the Jersey Shore and talked about cannabis getting legalized. Patel said his partner Lodaya is a longtime consumer. Patel looked into it and thought the conditions made a good opportunity.

“Kunal and I had always talked about opening a business at some point,” he noted.

Hamilton Farms is owned by Patel, Lodaya, and their parents.

Patel said he worked in a finance industry adjacent career and that Lodaya is a consultant. Lodaya’s parents have a gift shop. Patel’s mom is a pharmacist, and his dad is a doctor.

Patel said it was not an affordable endeavor at all.

A great level of trust was needed. He explained that Indian American families think of their money in terms of a combined pot.

Lodaya’s mom is also a real estate agent and first found property in Hamilton in Atlantic County. While the location fell through, the name stuck. Millville was the third town they examined.

Finding the Money to Open

Patel said the average price to open as a cultivator is about $300 to $600 per sq ft. They have 13,000 square feet.

Dispensaries only cost about $500,000 to $2 million to open.

“It’s not for the faint of heart,” Patel said.

When they put the construction plan together, it cost twice their budget. They had 3 months to get money to pay the bill to start building.

Initially, they approached a bank and made a unique deal. But the bank broke its promise.

“We were in a difficult situation. We put all our savings into it. It was like a sunk cost,” he said. “We went to everyone we knew and talked to like everyone under the sun.”

Hamilton Farms ultimately mortgaged 5 properties as collateral owned by the partners and their parents and 14 years of savings to get the money.

“All those mortgages covered like 20 to 25 percent… maybe 30. The rest of it was savings and retirement,” Patel noted. “We just put everything on the line.”

He explained that 85 percent of the money came from mortgaging, savings, and retirement. Then 10 percent came from small family and friends, and 5 percent was from the grant they won.

Hamilton Farms was among the winners of a grant from the NJ Economic Development Authority (NJEDA.)

“That made all the difference. I don’t know honestly if we would have made it across the finish line without the grant,” Patel said.

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