A plan to produce cannabis plants in the former Magic Mart building in Oceana will not move forward – at least for the time being.
Dr. Joseph Baisden said he didn’t raise the required funding for the project and, therefore, did not submit an application to the state for the project.
“I’m not giving up,” he said Wednesday afternoon. “I’m hoping there will be more opportunities in the future.
“I’ve learned a lot from this,” he said.
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Baisden spent more than an hour on Feb. 5 explaining his business plan to Wyoming County Commission members as well as a few residents who attended to voice their opposition.
When the topic was discussed at a recent Oceana town council meeting, more people showed up to voice their objections. The council, however, voted in favor of the new business.
A radiation oncologist in Princeton, Baisden said the facility would employ about 25 people full-time, with a pay range of $12 to $15 an hour for those overseeing the cannabis plants and in the $25 to $35 an hour range for management positions.
The building would be surrounded by chain-link fencing, topped by razer wire, with guards posted 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The security measures would also be an asset to neighboring Goodsons’ Supermarket and other businesses in the strip mall, the doctor said.
“Every seed, every plant” will be tracked electronically as is required by the state, he explained.
There will be no storefront for residents to purchase cannabis products, Baisden emphasized. The plants will be shipped out of the county by Brinks-type security trucks to a dispensary.
During the commission meeting, he also pledged to give back 3 percent of his profit to the communities through local charities or by creating a new charity.
Doctors can only prescribe medical cannabis for 19 specific diagnoses and have to be certified in each diagnosis in order to prescribe it, according to state code.
Baisden pledged that his products will not be sold in dry form or in plant form as those used for smoking or vaping.
The products will be used only for tinctures and oils that are ingested, Baisden said.
There are no documented cases of cannabis overdoses by ingesting it, he said.
Peggy Huffman, of Kopperston, told Baisden that she had had three golf-ball size brain tumors and never considered using the products.
“I’m totally against it,” she emphasized. “There’s no guarantee this won’t become like the opioids.”
Huffman said she had lost 15 first cousins in 18 months to overdoses. Those family members began by using marijuana, she said.
Baisden said he understood her concerns and noted that cannabis does not act in the brain or body like opioids.
Opioids act on the body in a way that requires more and more in order to get high; addicts continue until the amount becomes toxic and results in an overdose, he said.
Cannabis does not act on the central nervous system and the dosage doesn’t have to be increased, he said.
There are no withdrawal symptoms with cannabis if someone stops using it, Baisden said.
Cannabis is for long-term patient use, Baisden said, while opioids are only meant for short-term use.
“My mission is from a patient point of view, not a profit point of view,” he emphasized.