By Barry Dalton
Standard Wellness Company, LLC closed on 20 acres of property on July 24 on the east edge of Vandalia just outside of the official city limits. The property at 44243 Highway V, about three miles east of Main Street, will be used for cultivating and manufacturing medical marijuana.
“We are currently finalizing the construction plans, so the next step is taking care of permitting,” said Kevin Murphy, a spokesperson for Standard Wellness.
Standard Wellness Company, which also has operations in Ohio and Utah, plans to break ground on construction by the end of this year. Once construction starts, Murphy estimates it will take about eight months to complete.
“We are bullish on the state of Missouri and medical cannabis,” Murphy said. “The patient count in Missouri is over 60,000, which is impressive.”
The company will begin the interview and hiring process as the construction finalizes. Its cultivator in Ohio is a Missouri native who may move back to Missouri once operations begin. Otherwise, the company plans to initially hire about 20 key personnel.
“Then we’ll add new employees as capacity and manufacturing increases,” Murphy said. “So it will be a phased hiring process. I think we’ll be able to hire at least 50 people by the end of 2021 with a maximum of a 100 once operations are in full swing.”
Murphy says the jobs will have competitive wages and good benefits including healthcare and 401k.
“We have a great working environment. Our goal is to hire as many local people as we can,” Murphy added.
Standard Wellness also hopes to open some dispensaries in Missouri, but it was notified in January that it didn’t win any dispensary licenses. It is appealing seven of the eight application decisions with the state, including the proposed dispensary in Vandalia.
“We have an attorney and we are currently going through the appeals process,” Murphy said. “But that process could take at least a year.”
Once the manufacturing and cultivation greenhouse is completed, the City of Vandalia will provide sewer and water to the new greenhouse facility and Ameren will provide electricity.
“Both [medical marijuana] companies talked to me about how they want to give to the community and help the community and sponsor things and donate to organizations,” said Darren Berry, Vandalia city administrator. “So if they do what they say they’re going to do, it’s going to be really good for Vandalia.”
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The Standard Wellness greenhouse will be located on Highway V, about three miles east of Main Street in Vandalia.