Richmond City Council approved the city’s first permitted medical marijuana products manufacturer and research and development business on Tuesday.
The unanimous approval of Indigo Therapeutics, which plans to operate at JOINN Innovation Park, a bio-tech facility at 2600 Hilltop Drive, came only weeks after the council opened the door to an unlimited number of commercial cannabis cultivation and manufacturing operations in the city. Mayor Tom Butt has promoted the plan as a way to generate more revenue for cash-strapped Richmond.
Indigo Therapeutics plans to test and produce marijuana medicines such as edibles and topical applications that aim to combat a wide range of illnesses, its owners told council.
The operation, which has leased 4,360 square-feet of laboratory space and another 1,290 square-feet of office space at JOINN Innovation Park, expects to employ between 50 and 80 full and part-time workers. Owners hope to expand in the future to add a commercial kitchen, production line and packaging space, according to city documents.
The company will pay $70,000 annually in regulatory and inspection fees to the city, along with a 5-percent gross receipts tax that is expected to add revenue to city coffers surpassing six figures, City Manager Bill Lindsay said.
Some neighbors spoke out against the operation, saying it would attract crime to the area. Richmond police officials, however, say the three permitted medical marijuana dispensaries currently operating in the city have not attracted more crime.
Also, JOINN Innovation Park is a private, gated property that includes a 24-hour security guard and requires card-key entry, Indigo Therapeutics owners pointed out.
Before the operation can open, it still needs to go through the Planning Commission to obtain a conditional use permit.