Pennsylvania has awarded Pure Penn – which is owned by Florida-based Trulieve – a $2 million grant to expand its facility in McKeesport, KDKA reports. It’s the first time the state has awarded tax dollars to a medical cannabis company for upgrades.
Gabe Perlow, the president of Pure Penn, told KDKA that he expects medical cannabis “will be the next kind of big industry to revitalize and help drive economic development for the city.” Perlow suggested the site would employ 100 and “possibly more.” Currently, there are 77 employed at the facility.
In the 1960s, the National Tube Steel Mill in McKeesport employed about 10,000 people and the city had about 45,000 residents. Trulieve’s cultivation and manufacturing operation uses the old steel mill but barely 19,000 people still live in the city, the report says.
Rep. Austin Davis, a Democrat from the city, told KDKA that he “absolutely” believes the grant is a “proper use of” tax dollars.
“We’re creating jobs. We’re stimulating the economy in a region that has struggled significantly since the collapse of the steel industry.” – Davis in an interview with KDKA
Democratic Sen. Jim Brewster, a former McKeesport mayor, said the grant is “completely transparent … heavily scrutinized and governed for the public to know what’s being done.”
Davis added that the “goal” is for the Mon Valley – which includes McKeesport – to become the cannabis cultivation capital of Pennsylvania and perhaps the region.