FL: Medical Marijuana Growers Have Interest In Polk Plant

Photo Credit: Ledger File Photo

Polk County’s fastest growing city may soon grow something else — medical marijuana.

The City Commission is scheduled to listen to a presentation from a Colorado-based company about potentially running a medical marijuana treatment facility out of the old Holly Hill Fruit Product facility.

“They’re wanting to be the ones to package it and grow it,” City Manager Kelly Callihan said. “This was something they approached us about a couple weeks ago.”

Commissioners will listen to the presentation at a workshop and, if they like they idea, they can vote during the regular meeting to send out a letter of support to the state to open the facility. The letter has already been written and signed by Mayor Rob Robinson.

“If nothing else, they’ll have the opportunity to listen,” Callihan said of the commission. “We’ll treat them the same we’d treat any other business.”

At a meeting last month, the City Commission had a change of heart about banning medical marijuana dispensaries. After approving the first reading in March, the commission decided to learn more about the dispensaries. Callihan said if the commission likes the idea of the treatment facility, no further commission action would be necessary.

“If they support it, they’ll put forward the letter and send it to the state,” Callihan said. “There’s only so many allowed in so many areas. At this point, we wouldn’t have to do anything else.”

Lake Wales has had a grow facility run by GrowHealthy located near the Lake Wales Municipal Airport since early last year. Ken Fields, the city manager of Lake Wales, said there have been no problems.

“They are very low-key for obvious security reasons,” Fields said. “They’ve hired somewhere in the 30 or 40 people range.”

The jobs created have ranged from security personnel to botanists, Fields said, and brought commerce to a once-dilapidated building. Holly Hill has been in the city since 1929, but recently, the facility has been used only for administrative purposes.

“It’s been a great economic development facilitator here in Lake Wales,” Fields said. “They’ve been a good neighbor.”

Also of note

Also on Monday, the City Commission is scheduled to appoint a vice mayor. Brynn Summerlin currently holds that post.

In other business, the city is slated to authorize the hiring of a full-time utilities director. The position would be listed with a starting salary of $65,000 per year.

Time and place

The workshop with the presentation will begin at 6:15 p.m. Monday with the regular meeting to follow at 7 p.m. Both take place at City Hall, 1 S. Allapaha Ave.