Boonvilles vacant buildings may become grow sites – Columbia Daily Tribune


BOONVILLE — Potential medical marijuana growers say Boonville is a prime location to grow, but what’s harvested will likely be sold by dispensaries in Columbia and elsewhere.

Chris Martin, who owns buildings in Boonville that growers are interested in, told the Boonville City Council on Monday that nobody is looking at Boonville for a dispensary. They’d rather be in Columbia, or somewhere else with a larger population, he said.

“They do like our facilities here in Boonville for the fact that it’s quiet, low-key, it’s a great place to grow the product,” he said.

Columbia architect Eric Westhues represents several clients looking to set up a growing operation in one of Boonville’s vacant industrial buildings. The growing operation could also include manufacturing under the same roof, where the marijuana plants are processed into THC-infused products, he said.

People would not be able to tell from the outside that the facility is growing marijuana, and his clients plan to have several security measures, including razor wire fences and controlled access gates, he told the council and board in a work session before the regular council meeting on Monday.

The state will pick the top 60 applicants for growing permits, so only the very best applicants have a shot, Westhues said. The clients are not going to cut corners, he said. They want to use the best practices and best equipment to get the largest return on their investment. Martin wants financially viable tenants, he said. One group he’s working with is publicly traded in Canada, where marijuana is fully legal, and others have private equity funding, he said.

The buildings are attractive to potential investors because they don’t want to construct a new facility, Westhues said. If permits are issued next January, they’d have to wait until the spring to even

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