Jushi Holdings Inc. (OTCMKTS: JUSHF) said it is planning a $50 million expansion project in Scranton, Pennsylvania which is expected to create more than 100 more new jobs in the Scranton area. The company said it plans to nearly double the square footage of its subsidiary’s grower-processor facility from approximately 90,000 sq. ft. to more than 160,000 sq. ft. in a phased expansion.
In 2019, the company opened the medical marijuana dispensary BEYOND / HELLO Scranton. Jushi already employs 70 people in the Scranton area and once this expansion is completed, it will have added 17 new jobs to the region. For the expansion, the company also plans to hire all local construction, electricians, and vendors for its expansion efforts.
“The medical cannabis market in Pennsylvania is rapidly growing and with our products in high-demand, this investment will significantly expand our cultivation capacity and market share,” said Jim Cacioppo, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman, and Founder of Jushi. “This is a robust operating environment and with the market intelligence gained through our eight currently operating BEYOND / HELLO™ retail dispensaries, we believe that patient demand for high-quality, medical-grade cannabis products is still far from being satisfied. We are very excited by the opportunity ahead of us in Pennsylvania, and as one of the fastest-growing jobs sectors in the U.S., Jushi and its subsidiaries look forward to bringing additional new local jobs and tax dollars to the region and further investing in Scranton’s economy and community.”
Pennsylvania’s Republican legislature continues to block the adult-use legalization measure despite the state’s widening budget gap. PA Governor Tom Wolf has been pushing for the legalization of cannabis for adults and looking for ways to close the budget gaps. If adult-use legalization were to pass in PA, the cannabis industry would likely double to triple in size, which would only create more taxes for state and local coffers and jobs in PA. The state is also facing pressure from its border with New Jersey which is planning on fast-tracking the legalization of adult-use cannabis. This could negatively impact the medical market in the state.
Jushi said that the majority of the approximate 70,000 sq. ft. expansion project will be focused on increasing the facility’s canopy space, which upon completion will nearly triple to approximately 98,000 sq. ft. In a statement, the company said that the first phase of the expansion is expected to come online in mid-2021 and the final phase will be completed by the second quarter of 2022. In total, Jushi expects to invest approximately $50 million in the expansion project, which is expected to create more than 100 new jobs in the Scranton area. Jushi (through its subsidiary Pennsylvania Medical Solutions, LLC), will work with Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. (NYSE: IIPR) (through its subsidiary IIP-PA 1 LLC) to partially finance the expansion project via an upsize to the existing lease agreement between the parties. The expansion project is subject to the company’s successful completion of certain milestones, including receipt of all local and state approvals and permits, and the finalization of a mutually agreed lease amendment with Innovative Industrial Properties Inc. related to the Facility.
The company reminded investors that it recently completed an expansion project in the third quarter of 2020, which included increasing the facility’s indoor cultivation from approximately 20,000 sq. ft. to approximately 45,000 sq. ft. (~33,000 sq. ft. of canopy) and supplementing the current CO2 extraction with new Class I, Division 1 ethanol extraction technology. The facility produces high-quality, indoor-grown flower and extracts and is strategically located within minutes of Interstate 81, Interstate 84 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, enabling efficient wholesale distribution to the 98 dispensaries currently operating across the commonwealth, including the Company’s eight operational BEYOND / HELLO™ dispensaries. The facility is expected to supply the company’s subsidiaries and other licensed retail facilities.