HUNTINGTON — The Cabell-Huntington Health Department Board of Health on Wednesday approved a resolution approving medical cannabis operations in the county.
The resolution, approved during a special meeting, means a cannabis grow facility will be moving into Cabell County. It was passed by a 3-2 vote, with board members Fred Kitchen and Dan Porter casting the opposing votes.
The resolution provides Trulieve, a medical cannabis company based in Florida, the green light to move forward with plans to establish a cannabis grow facility in the county. Representatives for the company spoke during the board’s virtual meeting Wednesday.
Chloe Grossman, director of corporate growth for Trulieve, said the facility in Cabell County will create between 60 and 80 new jobs, ranging from entry level to professional.
“We have the resources to build a state-of-the-art facility in Cabell County,” she said. “We will work with the community and board of health to ensure we have a positive impact.”
Grossman indicated the company had already purchased a property for the grow site, and they plan to make $11 million or more in improvements to the property.
In response to board chairman Dr. Kevin Yingling’s question about security of these facilities, Grossman said security of their people and assets is top priority. She said they have state-of-the-art camera systems and 24/7 security on site.
She also said the company’s head of security is a former member of law enforcement and he looks forward to working with local police and fire to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Yingling said the board does not want any medical cannabis operation to be a hindrance to the community. He said he expects facilities to be inspected and monitored just like pharmacies are in the state.
Trulieve reps also ensured the board the facility was energy efficient, and they had several ways to treat any water runoff. They said the environmental impact would be minimal.
Though only the grow facility is in the works currently, the resolution will give the state Office of Medical Cannabis the go-ahead to approve any other applications for facilities in the county, such as dispensaries or processing centers. Trulieve said they have plans for dispensaries in other parts of the state, but not Cabell County.
The Medical Cannabis Act, passed in 2017 in West Virginia, requires county boards of health to approve applications from medical marijuana operators — dispensaries, growers and processors — before the state will release a permit.
West Virginia’s medical cannabis law allows for 10 growers, 10 processors and 100 dispensaries to operate in the state. The state received 199 dispensary applications and nearly 40 applications each for growers and processors.
Counties can prohibit medical cannabis operations by a vote of the residents. Putnam County voters were the latest to approve it during the June primary election. Mercer County is the only county that has voted to ban medical cannabis operations. The Cabell County Commission has not placed a measure to prohibit medical marijuana on a ballot.