A doctor, the principal owner of a 1.1 million-square-foot North Andover factory formerly occupied by Lucent Technologies, is working overtime at making inroads with his neighbors about what he’d like to see the space become: one of the world’s largest marijuana grow and research facility.
“Until I left for Israel in 2013, I sat around all day writing (patients) narcotics (prescriptions),” Jeff Goldstein, the oncologist in question, said to a room full of people during an open house at the facility over the weekend, reports The Boston Globe.
Turns out, he added, “patients were preferring and using medical cannabis.”
The factory, known as Osgood Landing, originally built in the 1950s, sits on 169 acres off Route 125 near the Haverhill town line.
At one time, the Lucent facility comprised 10 percent of North Andover’s tax base, employing more than 12,000 workers in the production of telecom equipment. Production ended there in 2007.
While residents eagerly await seeing the facility returned to the tax rolls, they’re approaching Goldstein’s proposal cautiously, according to various media reports on the proposal.
“We want this to be a state of the art facility,” Goldstein told The Eagle-Tribune.
The doctor has recruited a “team of lawyers and marketing agents” in addition to experienced cannabis growers, technology executives and other businessmen to help legitimate the proposal, according to the reports in The Globe and Eagle-Tribune.
One key argument is based on the potential for economic and job growth. The facility could eventually employee up to 1,500 skilled workers, notes The Globe, while Goldstein has also promised to pay $5 million annually to keep the business in good stead with the town.
The facility would grow marijuana for sale at regional dispensaries, but also a testing site for various marijuana technologies, including but not limited to lighting rigs and a potential hand-held marijuana intoxication test that could be used by law enforcement, according to The Eagle-Tribune.
Two-thirds of the product yielded from the 300,000 plants the building could house would go towards the former, the final third to the latter.
Industry annalists anticipate marijuana will become a $1 billion industry in Massachusetts by 2020.