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Marijuana operator gets $22M in loans from Minnesota governmental agencies

Hwy35, a Missouri-based marijuana operator, secured $22 million in funding from two state agencies in Minnesota as well as a municipality.

The money will be used “to establish a state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility” in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, according to a document posted online by one of the lenders, the state’s Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB).

The grow and manufacturing plant, slated for a former wood products facility, is expected to have an eventual footprint of 60,000 square feet over two construction phases with an estimate price tag of $67.8 million.

Hwy35, described in the IRRRB document as operating in Missouri’s legal marijuana industry with “manufacturing, transportation and retail establishments,” will receive loans of:

  • $10 million from the IRRRB.
  • $10 million from the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development.
  • $2 million in tax-increment financing from the city of Grand Rapids.

The project is expected to create 400 jobs and generate tax revenues, according to a statement by Ida Rukavina, commissioner of the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation.

“Because the project is based in both manufacturing and agriculture,” Rukavina said, “it has the potential to significantly diversify the local economy, which is one of our agency’s primary goals.”

One of the principals of Hwy35, Jack Mitchell, also serves as “president of Besa Group and Mitchell Hospitality in Kansas City (Missouri),” the MinnPost online news outlet reported.

Mitchell told the IRRRB that he plans for Hwy35 to be one of Minnesota’s first cannabis cultivation operations in anticipation of the launch of adult-use sales in 2025, according to MinnPost.

“We could get up and operating before 90% of the market,” Mitchell told the IRRRB.

Minnesota’s adult-use marijuana bill became law in late May, but retail sales aren’t expected until 2025.

In the meantime, however, several Native American tribes in Minnesota have moved to launch their own adult-use cannabis programs.

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