On Tuesday night, Henagar held a town hall meeting to discuss bringing a marijuana facility to the Dekalb County town.
Top executives from Anejo Logistics, represented by former Alabama Attorney General Troy King, and city leaders addressed the community about the benefits to Henagar should Anejo build its state-of-the-art facility in the town.
“Nobody is talking about recreational marijuana,” King said. “This is not about legalizing medical marijuana; this state legislature has already done that. This is about whether or not your town is going to be a part of bringing this medicinal cannabis to the rest of the state.”
“We are coming to Henagar to hire people in Henaga,” King stated.
He said that the project will provide between 100 and 200 jobs, with an economic impact of $18 million to $40 million per year.
Chuck Bailey is the Director of Operations with the company who said he grew up near Henagar. Bailey explained that the leadership at Anejo had previously operated a similar facility in Florida, but that company sold for over $200 million.
Bailey said that pay starts at $15 an hour and goes up to $22 an hour for managers. Next tier managers make $50k to $65k. The upper tier manager will make $85k to $100k.
Christopher Poleszanek is the company’s chief legal advisor and the corporate secretary. Poleszanek told the crowd that the company intends to eventually offer some ownership to employees.
“We want to create an environment where the employees are incentivized with ownership opportunities,” Poleszanek said. “We don’t know what that looks like” because marijuana is still illegal federally, which limits what the company can do on the stock market. Poleszanek said he expects this to change.
Poleszanek explained that the company still needs to be awarded one of five vertically integrated licenses by the Alabama Medical Cannabis Commission. That application will be turned in on Sept. 1. The Commission is required to make a decision on the application within sixty days. The company would begin building their Henagar facility once the state awards them the license.
“Normally I could build this in eight to nine months, but in this economy, it will take twelve to fifteen months,” Bailey said.
This could slow the timing of when product will actually be available, potentially 2024 or 2025, but Poleszanek said that “if this state requires us to produce product sooner, we can meet that deadline.”
Bailey explained that the company can grow medical marijuana onsite in pods while they are building their building in order to get product out there and meet any state requirements.
Bailey said that the facility will grow all of the cannabis plants indoors at the facility and that the company will not need to purchase any product from outside growers.
“There are no plans to put a dispensary [in Henagar],” King said.
Some residents expressed concern about the road on which the facility will be located, particularly that it is in poor condition and needs widening even prior to the facility being built. Henagar Mayor Lee Davis acknowledged these concerns and explained the town will apply for a grant from ADECA for road improvements since it is part of economic development. The road work would occur “at the same time” the plant will be built, Davis said.
When residents asked about potential smells from the facility and impact on property values, Poleszanek replied that the facility will have an internal filtration system so that the other residents will not smell anything.
“This is not a hog farm or a rock quarry,” King added. “We don’t want to do anything to lower your property values.”
Most of the residents at the public meeting were very positive about the proposed facility and there were frequent cheers and rounds of applause.
The Alabama Legislature passed medical marijuana legislation, SB46, in the 2021 legislative session. Alabama is the 37th state to legalize medical marijuana.
(This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Henagar)
To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email brandon.moseley@1819News.com.
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