KEYSER, W.Va. — The building at the Fort Ashby Business & Technology Park currently owned by the Mineral County Development Authority may soon have a new owner and occupant.
Authority Executive Director Kevin Clark said at Tuesday afternoon’s business meeting that the agency had received a letter of intent to purchase the 27,000 square foot shell building that occupies lot 14 on the property. The name of the potential tenant, Mountaineer Integrated Care, was announced in a Wednesday morning press release. The sale price is $610,000, Clark said Tuesday — the MCDA currently owes $400,000 on the building.
“We are excited to partner with the Mineral County Development Authority in signing a contingent purchase agreement for the operation of our medical cannabis cultivation and processing facility. I believe it demonstrates our commitment to being a compliant operator within the regulations set forth and also provides us with an opportunity to bring meaningful job creation to the communities we hope to operate in,” said MIC chief compliance officer Abigail Nath in the release.
John Lusk, president of the development authority, said in the release that "We are happy to work with Mountaineer Integrated Care to bring substantial investment, jobs and economic development. We are excited for the future."
At Tuesday's meeting, Clark said the authority had "probably made a decent decision" in selecting MIC.
"I don't think we've missed out on anything by going with them," Clark said, noting that no other potential applicants had expressed further interest.
The announcement came just a day after state senators moved to remove a provision that would have allowed for patients to possess and grow cannabis in its flower form. West Virginia first passed a law legalizing medical marijuana in 2017, but the process of its implementation has been gradual as legislators iron out the logistics. Under the current law, patients would be able to access the drug in different topical and pill forms, as well as "a form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization, excluding dry leaf or plant form."
Before the law was altered Tuesday, it proposed that patients could possess up to 4 ounces at a time, and could also cultivate up to 12 plants and 12 seedlings at a time, provided they possessed a so-called "compassion certificate" from their doctor.
No licenses for growers, distributors or patients have been administered. According to the state's webpage for the Office of Medical Cannabis, which operates through the Department of Health and Human Resource's Bureau for Public Health, the application period for potential growers and dispensaries opened late last year and closed Tuesday.
“If Mountaineer Integrated Care is successful in winning grower and processor licenses, within the first year 30 and 50 full-time jobs would be created, and up to 75 full-time and part-time jobs in year two and beyond,” Nath said in the press release. “We are working with West Virginia colleges on the development of curriculum, internship and job training to commence post-award. The goal is to provide a ‘pipeline’ of qualified employees statewide to service this new emerging industry,” Nath said.
Follow staff writer Lindsay Renner-Wood on Twitter @LindsayRenWood