BRIDGEPORT — Harvest Care Medical’s hashish cultivation and processing facility is underneath development in Bridgeport, and officers with the corporate hope to have product prepared for market by the tip of this 12 months.
The corporate was named one in all West Virginia’s 10 licensed medical hashish cultivators final 12 months.
Harvest Care Medical CEO Invoice Freas mentioned the corporate has been welcomed warmly in Harrison County, and he hopes to additional develop that relationship.
“We chosen Bridgeport as our main location, got here down there and met with numerous organizations,” Freas mentioned. “Everybody has been very receptive to the chance within the Bridgeport space. After we have been awarded the licenses, we chosen Bridgeport as our ‘No. 1,’ and we’re working intently with the group.”
Kevin Gibbs, senior vice chairman of operations at Harvest Care Medical and chief working officer of Merida Capital Holdings — a non-public fairness fund within the medical hashish area — mentioned development of the Bridgeport facility is nicely underneath approach.
“The West Virginia undertaking is one of some we’ve accomplished ground-up,” Gibbs mentioned. “The positioning work and the climate delays over the winter pushed again our schedule just a little bit, however our partitions are going to go up subsequent week. We needs to be underneath roof in July, and we’re in search of our first harvest early within the fall. We’re enthusiastic about bringing medication to the sufferers of West Virginia.”
Harvest Care Medical can also be planning to function 10 dispensaries within the state, together with one in Fairmont, with hopes to open doorways on the retail places within the fourth quarter of 2021.
“We’re diligently pushing ahead plans and approvals to get these dispensaries open so when we’ve got product prepared on the cultivation facility, we’ll have retail prepared for our clients,” Gibbs mentioned. “We’d like to have our first sufferers be capable of buy our medical hashish initially of This autumn of this 12 months, however a few of that’s going to rely on how fast the testing labs can flip across the product.”
The cultivation and processing lab is estimated to create 50 to 100 native jobs.
Freas mentioned that after the plant is cultivated, the corporate will be capable of flip the hashish into medication in lots of kinds.
“This will likely be pharmaceutical-grade medication when it’s full in no matter type it’s in,” Freas mentioned. “With our processing plant, we’ll be capable of create edibles, vapors and extract, together with precise flower. It’s a really managed course of. As soon as we’ve got product in market, we sit up for working with various dispensaries within the state, not simply our personal.”
The corporate and its officers have labored related medical hashish operations in various states, together with Maryland and Virginia.
Gibbs famous particular Virginia sufferers whom the corporate’s product has helped via ache.
“Our first affected person was a younger woman who suffered from Dravet syndrome,” Gibbs mentioned. “Utilizing medical marijuana, she was capable of considerably cut back the variety of seizures she had. It was only a life-changing expertise for her and her household. You’ll see quite a lot of tales like that. There are quite a lot of sufferers who want this medication, and it’s going to make lots of people’s lives so much simpler.”
One other key level that firm officers make is the flexibility of hashish to cut back dependence on opioids.
Harvest Care Medical Chief Growth Officer Dustin Freas mentioned that in states with legalized marijuana — whether or not or not it’s medical or leisure — the speed of opioid overdoses drops.
He mentioned Harvest Care Medical has been concerned in pushing for opioid substitute laws within the states the place Harvest Care operates.
“There’s a spot for opioids within the health-care continuum, however it’s not the place it’s right now,” Dustin Freas mentioned. “It’s an enormous epidemic in our nation, killing hundreds upon hundreds of individuals a 12 months. That’s the place hashish is available in.”
Invoice Freas, who’s Dustin’s father, additionally mentioned the benefits of changing opioids with hashish.
“It’s not addictive, and also you get the identical consequence,” Invoice Freas mentioned. “We’re seeing it throughout. The place medical marijuana is up and working, we’re seeing a drop in (opioid) overdosing and a drop in utilization of opioids on a serious degree … since you’re discovering which you could get the identical reduction with out the addictive qualities, and it’s not as arduous in your system. …
“What we imagine is that, in the end, it’s going to develop into an alternate, and sure a primary possibility in lots of sorts of conditions. Right now, there’s quite a lot of analysis being taken on and different variables at play right here, however I imagine within the subsequent 5 years or so we’ll see an incredible transfer in that route.”
Invoice Freas acknowledged that marijuana nonetheless has a stigma amongst some folks. However he mentioned that he and the remainder of Harvest Care Medical hope to do what they will to dispel any damaging concepts about medical hashish.
“The stigma has been there for a lot of, a few years, and it’s not going to circled in a single day,” Invoice Freas mentioned. “I feel the important thing to that’s training. We will likely be offering the whole lot from instructional seminars to web site training to get folks extra conscious of the way it’s actually getting used and what it may imply to given people of assorted diagnoses or issues. It’s not going to occur in a single day, however states which are actively into medical (hashish) now are seeing large responses from the inhabitants.”
The officers mentioned that they’re completely satisfied to be in on the bottom flooring of medical hashish in West Virginia, they usually’re prepared to advertise their product as an reasonably priced, efficient type of remedy for eligible sufferers.
“As cliché because it sounds, an important factor for me is getting reasonably priced medication to sufferers so the can have entry to this medicine to assist their lives and get constructive outcomes,” Dustin Freas mentioned. “Secondly, we’re blessed to be partnered with Harrison County and be capable of come right into a group that’s clearly open for enterprise by what they’ve demonstrated to us. … We’re actually getting to vary a group from the bottom up in a really constructive approach, and in additional methods than one.”
Invoice Freas expanded on his son’s view.
“It’s actually about making a distinction locally, first with placing high quality pharmaceutical-grade medication to market and secondly, having the chance to create jobs and assist construct the realm,” Invoice Freas mentioned.
Fairmont Information Editor John Mark Shaver may be reached at 304-844-8485 or firstname.lastname@example.org.