Medical marijuana plants to begin growing soon for Holyoke facility

HOLYOKE — The growing of plants for a medical marijuana facility at 28 Appleton St. will begin later this month as the business approaches its opening day, an official said Monday.

The date that the GTI Massachusetts NP Corp. facility at Appleton and Canal streets will be open for business has yet to be set but the growing shows the beginning of operations is in sight, GTI CEO Peter Kadens said through a spokesman. 

About a dozen employees will be working at the facility by day one and that number soon will nearly triple. Plans are that in three years 100 people will be working there, he said.

The Chicago-based Green Thumb Industries has spent $8 million renovating 45,000 square feet of a former, red-brick paper mill built around 1890. 

The facility will have about 40 rooms. Most of the space will be devoted to stocking, growing, trimming, processing, drying and packaging the medical marijuana products. Other spaces will be for employee break rooms and showers, offices, a reception lobby and meeting area, Jon Thomforde, GTI head of cultivation, said in November.

The facility will produce 150 pounds to 200 pounds per week of marijuana for shipment to dispensaries like GTI’s in Amherst, Thomforde said.

At a job fair here Nov. 6, Kadens said jobs will be as:

growers horticulturalists manual labor, processing the plant once it is harvested, placing it in extraction machines to turn the plant into gases and liquids chemists laboratory technicians management security construction and engineering dryers trimmers curers plant processors crop maintenance packagers.

Marijuana can be prescribed medically to treat cancer, glaucoma, HIV-AIDS and other illnesses. Massachusetts voters in 2012 permitted medical marijuana facilities by approving a statewide ballot question.

Marijuana’s medical uses are available in smoking, edible, drinkable, throat lozenge, skin patch and suppository forms, all of which GTI will produce

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