Officials approve $10M loan for cannabis cultivation, manufacturing facility in Grand Rapids

Officials at the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board approved more than $10 million in loans, $445,000 in infrastructure grants, and $1 million in trails grants at a meeting on Tuesday.

KSTP’s sister-station WDIO initially reported on the $10 million dollar loan to HWY 35, LLC, which will help the company establish a state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility in Grand Rapids. The proposed site is the former Ainsworth OSB plant in Grand Rapids. The indoor cultivation center will be equipped with LED grow lights, HVAC systems and automated nutrient delivery systems.

The cultivation and manufacturing facility will abide by stringent quality control and labeling measures, according to WDIO.

With recent legalization of cannabis for adult use in the state of Minnesota, the project aims to capitalize on the burgeoning market by acquiring the necessary equipment and infrastructure to cultivate premium cannabis strains, extract oils and manufacture a diverse range of high-quality cannabis products.

Leaders involved in the project shared the following statements:

“On behalf of the city and the Grand Rapids Economic Development Authority, I’d like to thank Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation for their diligent work and support of this promising new industry. We’ve witnessed firsthand how the partners at HWY35 have developed and operated similar facilities in other states, and their proposed investment in the former Ainsworth site, which has been dormant since 2008, will further diversify our manufacturing base, fully utilize the public’s past and present investments in infrastructure, and substantially contribute to the growth of our regional economy.”

Rob Mattei, City of Grand Rapids Director of Community Development

“While launching the cultivation and manufacture of cannabis products as a new industry in the state of Minnesota is exciting, the opportunity to create positive economic impacts in northeastern Minnesota and, in particular the Grand Rapids and greater Iron Range communities, for generations to come is both thrilling and rewarding. We will revitalize the 138-acre former Ainsworth site into a high-tech, state-of-the-art, cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facility that our communities will be proud of and that will serve as an industry leader for the state of Minnesota.” – John Hyduke, HWY 35 Lead Minnesota Investment Partner.

“The HWY35 project is expected to benefit northeastern Minnesota through the creation of 400 jobs and increased tax revenues that can be reinvested back into the region. Because the project is based in both manufacturing and agriculture, it has the potential to significantly diversify the local economy, which is one of our agency’s primary goals.” – Commissioner Ida Rukavina, Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation.

WDIO notes that Senator Rob Farnsworth, Senator Justin Eichorn and Rep. Ben Davis voted against the loan.