As Pennsylvania considers leisure gross sales of marijuana, the hashish expertise we’ve had in Clinton County proves related to the controversy.
I function president of the Chamber of Commerce in rural, Clinton County. What I like most about our space is that we’re a fairly tightly knit neighborhood. We are usually a bit conventional and truly take some pleasure in that. So, after we had been approached 5 years in the past by a Colorado-based marijuana firm seeking to set up a medical marijuana grower/processor operation simply exterior of Lock Haven, I actually didn’t know what to suppose.
Initially, I used to be flooded by issues, and struggled to take significantly the concept of a marijuana manufacturing facility in our neighborhood. Did we actually need to hitch our wagon to a drug that continues to be unlawful on the federal stage and continues to face stigma throughout the nation? It took plenty of schooling and a leap of religion to dive into the difficulty and contemplate the prospect of marijuana being grown, so to talk, in our yard.
Our journey started with Terrapin, an business chief desperate to make a distinction for Pennsylvanians with a medical marijuana card. Terrapin had a observe report of success in different states, and concrete plans to spice up the native economic system in Clinton County. The corporate’s CEO, Chris Woods, went to school at close by Penn State College and was intent on bringing jobs to the world. We listened intently to what he and his group needed to say. We discovered they had been an expert, mission-minded group dedicated to the manufacture of a high quality, inexpensive medicinal product that has modified peoples’ lives. Importantly for our neighborhood, there additionally was a dedication to native job creation, long-term workforce improvement, and being neighbor.
By means of Terrapin, we obtained to raised perceive the marijuana business. Conferences had been held with enterprise and neighborhood leaders, elected officers, native police, and the district lawyer. Terrapin’s CEO and principals walked us by the cultivation and formulation processes, exhibiting how medical marijuana might be produced to assist a wide range of circumstances. We had been moved by the tales from mother and father whose youngsters noticed exceptional advantages in treating seizures. We heard from seniors about how marijuana assisted with debilitating circumstances like arthritis and glaucoma. And studying about how medical marijuana helps veterans with PTSD was eye-opening, particularly as an alternative choice to opioids.
As Chamber president, I couldn’t assist however be excited in regards to the potential for financial and workforce improvement. Terrapin can be hiring 35 native employees from our area to begin, with plans to increase inside three years. A facility that had sat dormant for years would out of the blue grow to be a hub of exercise.
Flash ahead a 12 months and Terrapin had obtained the entire regulatory approvals to safe one of many unique grower/processor licenses within the state. The brownfield web site underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation utilizing native contractors, an funding that had a optimistic ripple impact by the neighborhood.
Terrapin then turned its consideration to hiring. They acknowledged that our area had a excessive variety of veterans who had been struggling to search out work. Terrapin held a job truthful on the native VFW Put up to recruit veterans for open positions. About 300 folks attended, highlighting the extent of enthusiasm from the neighborhood and the will to deliver the advantages of the marijuana economic system to our area. Terrapin additionally helped begin VetForce, an organization owned and operated by veterans, to deal with safety and transportation wants on the new facility.
Right now, Terrapin is working by an growth of their manufacturing operation that may double capability with a purpose to meet excessive product demand. It’s one other $6 million infusion into our area. Once more, the corporate is utilizing native contractors for the growth and has doubled the variety of jobs on the facility.
The dedication to enhancing the standard of life in our county doesn’t finish there. Terrapin has given generously to improve Veteran’s Park – an area that pays tribute to veterans of all branches and eras of service – contributing $25,000 to refurbish a memorial space that may be a centerpiece in our neighborhood.
My evolution within the marijuana business isn’t distinctive. I hear and examine it usually. Constructing on the success of the state’s medical marijuana program, a Franklin & Marshall ballot launched final fall signifies that 58 % of Pennsylvania voters now assist adult-use leisure gross sales.
Based mostly on our expertise, I’d encourage state policy-makers to be open to dialogue of the difficulty. Terrapin Pennsylvania has discovered dwelling in Clinton County, and we’re proud to name them a associate with us on a path to even higher financial revitalization and sustainable development.
Mike Flanagan is the president of the Clinton County Financial Partnership/Chamber of Commerce in Lock Haven.
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