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Upshur County Development Authority Executive Director Rob Hinton on Thursday asked the Upshur County Commission to show support for the construction of an industrial access road that would lead off Brushy Fork Road to a new medical marijuana growing and processing facility.

Commission supports Development Authority’s plan to seek funds for access road to medical marijuana facility

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission on Thursday voted to give their stamp of approval to an Upshur County Development Authority project to build an industrial access road to a new medical marijuana growing and processing facility and several other businesses.

Executive Director of the Upshur County Development Authority Rob Hinton attended the Thursday, Dec. 10, Upshur County Commission meeting to seek the commission’s approval to apply for a grant that would pay for the industrial access road.

“What we’re asking for today from the Development Authority is just the support of the project – the support of going after the grants to fund the construction of the access road, as well as the engineering costs that will be associated with that,” Hinton said.

The road will provide access to the Brushy Fork property, next to the Army Reserve National Guard Readiness Center and the Event Center at Brushy Fork.

“Aaron Harris is building an Auction House on that site, and his entrance is going to be partially shared with the National Guard,” Hinton said. “We have an easement that we’ve worked out with them to share that main entrance.”

The medical cannabis company will be taking up about six acres of property and will require access into their property. In October, the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health’s Office of Medical Cannabis, awarded Buckhannon Grow, LLC and Buckhannon, WV Processing, LLC each one of just 10 statewide permits to grow and process medical marijuana. According to previous My Buckhannon articles, the growing and processing entity will be located on the Brushy Fork Road.

Hinton updated the county on a recent partnership forged between the UCDA and the City of Buckhannon at council’s Dec. 3 meeting last week.

“We worked with the city, and they’re going to grade a rough construction road, 500 feet deep into the property, and lay some gravel down, which is the sense of urgency that we have for the project,” Hinton said. “The medical cannabis facility has to get up and running by statute, within six months of the permit applications.”

“I don’t know whether or not those timelines are going to hold with COVID and all the other things that we’re dealing with,” Hinton added, “but we’re looking at a plan to follow a similar timeline.”

Hinton said the city is willing to lay down the gravel road, so the development authority must find an engineer and plans to do that next week.

“After that, we’ll submit the initial access for [an industrial road access grant], at the same time next week, and hopefully, get the $400,000,” Hinton said. “It looks like the manufacturing facility will put a minimum investment of about $5 million into their own building and structure, and it could be as high as $12 million.”

Hinton said the other cannabis manufacturing company, Armory Pharmaceuticals, will be going into the old armory building on Route 20.

“They’ve started to actually do some work in the building, tearing out all the old infrastructure, getting it ready to put in all the new investments they’ll be putting into that facility,” Hinton said. “That’s estimated to be about 2 to $3 million worth of investment into that facility as well, so with both companies’ combined, over the next three years, both expect to add between 80 and 100 jobs, and as they scale up, that could change based on how the market plays out in West Virginia.”

Commission president Terry Cutright made a motion to show approval for the project in an effort to help the development authority apply for the grant, and commissioner Kristie Tenney seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Read more about the two entities awarded medical marijuana growing and processing permits here.

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