HENAGAR, Ala. (WHNT) – A company is looking to build a medical cannabis processing plant in DeKalb County.
Nearly 150 people came to the Henagar Community Center on Tuesday evening to ask about the possibility of a medical cannabis production facility coming to town. News 19 spoke with several residents of the community who seemed excited about the opportunities the plant could bring.
“When they said 200 people were ready to work, that’s a good thing,” said Jackson County resident Fran Mount. “It’s a good thing for this region.”
The potential development comes after Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill last year to establish Alabama’s Medical Cannabis Commission. The commission will oversee the future production and sale of cannabis.
The commission will review applications and grant only five licenses to grow in the state. RX Connections President Troy King said they would apply for an integrated license.
“We would pursue one that is basically a seed for sale, so it would allow us to do everything from growing and processing to distributing and running dispensaries,” King told News 19. These operations, with the exception of the dispensary, would be located here in DeKalb County.
King, a former Alabama attorney general, says he chose Henagar over the potential plant site for a reason.
“When we started looking for the perfect site, we looked to northern Alabama,” King continued. “We headed to an area that was hit hard by NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] and I saw a lot of jobs go and we came to explore the possibility and I’ll be honest we were so warmly welcomed here by everyone.
Linda Gilbert was among the many residents present at the meeting who came to ask questions.
“I was concerned about the smell and asked if it smelled or what, [and] they said no,” Gilbert said.
She, like many others, saw the benefits it could bring.
“It would be my next door neighbor so I had a lot of questions and that sounds like a good thing, but you know I feel better since I came to the meeting,” Gilbert continued.
King says it would create up to 200 jobs with pay starting at $15 an hour.
“Once the facility is operational, [we will] back to employ between 100 and 200 people with an economic impact between $20 million and $40 million a year, so it’s a huge economic impact on this region,” King continued.
Again, this is just one step in the process and nothing is finalized. King says he just wanted the opportunity to hear from residents and get feedback before formally applying for the license from the state.
License applications must be submitted to the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission in September. If RX Connections gets the license, the plant would be built near the Henagar Industrial Park.
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