Facility to expand

Lazaro Aleman
ECB Publishing, Inc.

Construction is moving rapidly on the medical marijuana facility near the community of Waukeenah, with four buildings already up, earth-moving equipment everywhere on the grounds and plans for additional buildings in the works.
Planning Official Shannon Metty reported late last week that the Trulieve – the Gadsden County based medical marijuana company behind the local venture – has applied for a site plan revision, which the Planning Commission is scheduled to take up on Thursday, Dec. 12.
The revisions, Metty said, involve significant changes to the original site plan that county officials approved earlier in the year, hence the reason for another review.
The original site plan, she noted, called for three buildings of 250,000 sq. feet each and four buildings of 24,000 sq. feet each.
The site plan revision, she said, entails adding four more 24,000 sq. foot buildings, plus two 47,000 sq. foot buildings and an electric substation.
Meanwhile, the three 250,000 sq. foot buildings that county officials approved in the original site plan have been consolidated into a single 750,000 sq. foot building that Metty describes as “a giant-mongus building.”
The latter change, she said, did not require local approval, as the state regulates the industry and approved the change. Truelieve, she said, had merely to inform the county of the consolidation.
Metty said more detailed information about the proposed changes would be made available at the Dec. 12 hearing, which will begin at 6 p.m. and be held in the courthouse annex, located at 435 Walnut St.
The Jefferson County Commission approved the medical marijuana growth facility in June of this year, based on the recommendation of the Jefferson County Planning Commission and the presentations of Metty and consultant engineer Sean Marston, of Urban Catalyst Consultants of Tallahassee.
Metty, in her talk, hit on the operation's key points, including that Truelieve was a state-licensed medical marijuana company with a processing operation in Gadsden County; that the local facility would only grow the marijuana, not process or distribute it; and that the property where the facility was being sited was appropriately zoned agricultural.
Marston, meanwhile, gave an overview of the project, noting that the master plan called for four phases of construction, comprising a total of nearly 900,000 sq. feet of interior space when completed. He further said that the facility would ultimately employ 300 people; would operate 24/7; and would be secured with perimeter fencing as well as security personnel, among other measures.
The issue of employment pay came up only in passing. But Fred Beshears, of Simpson Nurseries, which is peripherally associated with the project, said the starting rate would be $10 or $11 hourly and go up from there.