Bedford sees medical marijuana as economic plus

Green Leaf Medical marijuana facility could spur growth

BEDFORD — Green Leaf Medical is hoping to have its medical marijuana processing facility in Bedford County fully operational within 90 to 120 days.

The company, which was approved by the state Department of Health for a grower/processor permit July 31, will build its facility at the former Seton plant along Horton Road in Saxton. Green Leaf Medical has six months to have its facility up and running or a hard deadline of Jan. 31, 2019.

Philip Goldberg, Green Leaf Medical CEO, said there has been a lot of progress on demolishing the former plant. Goldberg spoke at the Bedford County Development Association annual meeting Friday.

Multiple meeting attendees expressed support for the new facility, commenting on how they think it will spur economic development and medical advancements while providing an alternative to opioids.

“We do think this is a booming industry, but also very advanced in the pharmaceuticals and medical industry,” said Bedford County Commissioner Josh Lang. “They are going to be able to provide to patients in need of care. Certainly, when you have issues with opioids and those who are overdosing, this is an extremely great alternative to that.”

Lang said he thinks the medical marijuana processing facility will not only create more jobs, but that it will attract more young people to the area.

“What we are seeing right now is an infancy of the development of a new category of drugs that I believe in another decade will be very commonplace,” Goldberg said.

The CEO said he anticipates the facility will create about 100 local jobs with competitive salaries. He said the company plans to hire and train eight to 10 managers and 80 to 90 other employees.

Those hired to work at the new facility can expect to make anywhere from $13 to $30 an hour, depending on the position. Goldberg said the vast majority of positions would pay $13 to $18 an hour.

He added the company would also make donations to Saxton’s fire company, senior center and the Tussey Mountain School District.

State Sen. Wayne Langerholc Jr., R-Cambria, said he is tremendously excited about the Green Leaf Medical facility, describing it as an investment in infrastructure that will “trickle down” to benefit locals and create “good family-sustaining jobs.”

“This is a big win for Bedford County,” Langerholc said.

Bette Slayton, BCDA president, said the facility would diversify the county’s employment base and continue to move the community toward life sciences and pharmaceutical industries.

The former Seton plant in Saxton where the facility will be built used to employ about 1,000 people but has been empty for about a decade, according to Slayton.

“Revitalization of the Saxton community is one of the most joyful results of Green Leaf coming to the community,” she said.

Goldberg said a large portion of the products his company makes do not look like cannabis that people are familiar with, like joints and bongs.

“I want people to understand that these are real patients with real medical ailments that have not successfully been treated with the traditional therapeutic options that are available,” Goldberg said. “These are not just people looking to get high. These are not just lazy people that want to use a drug. These are people looking for alternatives to the therapeutic options that are available to them.”

Those interested in employment can send an email to saxton@gleaf.com. No prior training is required. All prospective employees have to undergo drug testing and background checks.

The facility will have security fencing and cameras, multiple security systems and controlled inside access. Employees will have to wear scrubs without pockets and occasionally undergo random searches, Goldberg said.

Security guards will transport and deliver Green Leaf Medical products, which will be tracked with GPS. Phase one of the facility’s construction covers about 90,000 feet, according to Goldberg. He said there is an additional 180,000 feet to later expand the facility.

Green Leaf Medical earned a score of 734.5 points out of 1,000, the highest score among permit applicants in the south central region.

Of the more than 90 permit applications submitted, 13 medical marijuana growing/processing facilities were approved in the second round of permitting.

Mirror Staff Writer Shen Wu Tan is at 946-7457.

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