IRRRB Approves Funding for Grand Rapids Cannabis Grow Facility
The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board recently voted 5-3 to approve state funding for a cannabis grow facility near Grand Rapids.
The vote on Tuesday authorized a $10 million loan to HWY35 LLC. Combined with an additional $10 million from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and $2 million in financing from the city of Grand Rapids, the $22 million in taxpayer funding represents nearly 33% of the total cost of the $67 million project.
Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board officials say the cannabis-growing operation is expected to employ 400 people in Grand Rapids. Officials from HWY35 told the board plans are to revitalize the 138-acre former Ainsworth wood plant into a high-tech, state-of-the-art cannabis cultivate and manufacturing facility.
District 6 Republican Senator Justin Eichorn of Grand Rapids, who serves on the IRRRB, says he voted against approving the state funding for the project. He cited several concerns in an email to constituents, including doubt regarding the number of jobs the project will generate and the uncertainty of the regulatory environment.
Sen. Eichorn says his vote was about being a wise steward of taxpayer dollars, but claims he has been threatened, harassed, and intimidated by individuals involved with the project in a way that he hasn’t been on any issue he can recall.