Company behind Grand Rapids cannabis facility shares future plans

Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 9:34 PM CDT
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GRAND RAPIDS, MN. (Northern News Now) -- Following the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board’s approval of a $10 million-dollar loan to help fund a proposed cannabis facility, the company leading the way is speaking out.

HWY35, LLC. is the company behind the proposed recreational marijuana growing and manufacturing facility in Grand Rapids.

The CEO of HWY35, Jack Mitchell, said he chose Grand Rapids because of the Ainsworth Site showing massive potential.

”It had zoning, it had wastewater capacity, it had infrastructure, electrical, and it was totally vacant,” said Mitchell.

The old, 138-acre lot has been sitting vacant since 2008.

“It’s all of a sudden going to be a really dynamic employment center that’s going to have, even in the first phase, we are projected to have somewhere to 175 to 200 people,” said Mitchell.

Eventually, Mitchell said the facility will be able to employ around 400 people.

A new business venture Grand Rapids leaders say will bring a new, exciting economic boost to the region.

“Our City Council supports it, our Economic Development Authorities support, our business community, the Grand Rapids Community Chamber of Commerce is in support of all of it,” said Ron Mattei, the Grand Rapids Director of Community Development.

According to Mitchell, the cannabis industry is largely made up of younger employees, who would likely help boost the local economy.

“We are working with developers now on potential housing projects because we expect it will bring new people to the community, and we welcome that,” said Mattei.

“It’s going to create a lot of energy in that community. The manufacturing is very, very sophisticated,” said Mitchell.

But those at HWY35 are also aware the state is still hashing out regulations.

Although Mitchell believes the state will be ready to hand out licenses within the next four or five months.

“We are ready to engage and start giving that feedback,” said Mitchell. “The state, I think, is pretty close to start taking that feedback. The team is coming together.”

The facility will end up costing around $67 million.

But keep in mind, while it’s legal in Minnesota, recreational marijuana is not legal on the federal level. That makes it difficult to get bank loans.

HWY35 says it will turn to private Minnesota investors to help fulfill any funding needs, which is something Mitchell is confident he will be able to accomplish.

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