By Tammy Gray
A medical marijuana cultivation facility under construction at the former Golden Eagle warehouse at the west end of Holbrook is expected to employ at least 20 people when operations begin.
City Manager Ray Alley explained that he has been working with representatives from Natural Herbal Remedies to issue the proper building permits for the remodeling work taking place inside the building. Alley noted that several rooms are being built inside the warehouse for the cultivation of various strains of marijuana.
Natural Herbal Remedies operates a dispensary in Holbrook, located in the restored Pow Wow building on Navajo Blvd. Company representative Sheelah Golliglee explained that the cultivation facility represents an expansion of the business. The dispensary will remain in its existing location.
According to Golliglee, the cultivation facility is expected to become operational in about three months, and a minimum of 20 people will be hired to run the operation. She explained that the company intends to hire locally as much as possible, but noted that prospective employees cannot have a previous felony conviction.
Work on the remodel has already started, and Golliglee stated that the company is working closely with the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) to meet the necessary requirements for operating a medical marijuana cultivation facility. She pointed out that the operation will also follow the rules set forth in the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA).
Security is a chief concern for Golliglee, and she explained that the AMMA also has very specific guidelines regarding the security measures that must be in place at a cultivation site. For example, there will be a minimum of 50 high-definition cameras, as well as security officers on site 24 hours per day.
Cultivation will take place in the main warehouse, where Golden Eagle’s distributing center was previously located, and the smaller nearby building will serve as an administrative building.
Golliglee explained that the administrative building will include a conference room where educational programs about medical marijuana can be held. She noted that all members of the public will be invited to make use of the educational programs, not just medical marijuana card holders. Neither location will serve as a dispensary.
Alley said that he is pleased that the building will now be occupied, and that the company will be providing jobs as well as revenue for the city.
According to Golliglee the warehouse has been unoccupied for about eight years.