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 night to ask questions about the possibility of a medical cannabis production plant coming to town. News 19 spoke to several community residents who seemed excited about the opportunities the plant could bring.
“When they said 200 people being ready to work, that’s a good thing,” said Fran Mount, a resident of Jackson County. “That’s a good thing for this area.”
The potential development comes after Governor Kay Ivey signed a bill last year to establish the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission. The commission will oversee future cannabis production and vending.
The commission will consider applications and grant only five licenses to grow in the state. RX Connections President Troy King says they will be applying for an integrated license.
“We would pursue one that is basically a seed-to-sale, so it would let us do everything from grow to process to distribute and operate dispensaries,” King told News 19. “All of those operations except the dispensary would be located here in DeKalb County.”
King, a former Alabama Attorney General, says he picked Henagar at the potential plant site for a reason.
“When we began looking for the perfect site, we gravitated towards North Alabama,” King continued. “We gravitated towards an area that was really hit hard by NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] and saw a lot of jobs leave and we came to explore the possibility and I’ll be honest, we were greeted so warmly up here by everybody.”
Linda Gilbert was among many residents at the meeting who came to have questions answered.
“I had the concern of odor and I asked if it would smell 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 to ask and it 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 per hour.
“Once the facility becomes operational, [we will] back to employ between 100 and 200 people with an economic impact somewhere between $20 to $40 million a year so it’s a huge economic impact on this area,” King continued.
Again, this is only a step in the process and nothing is finalized. King says he just wanted the opportunity to hear from residents and get feedback before officially applying for the license with the state.
Applications to get a license are due to the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission in September. If RX Connections is granted the license, the plant would be built near Henagar’s industrial park.