$8M, 30K-square-foot cannabis growing facility coming to Madison County

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 2:35 PM CDT
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MADISON COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - Cannabis cultivation could soon bring as many as 50 new jobs to Madison County.

Mississippi native Jared Kobs, the founder of Kudzu Cannabis, is building a 30,000-square-foot medical marijuana growing facility along Commercial Parkway West, in hopes that the state will soon approve marijuana for medical use.

Kobs purchased 22 acres of land along Commerical Parkway West to build the facility earlier this year.

The Madison County Economic Development Authority (MCEDA), which approved selling the land for $330,000 back in May, estimates that the project will generate 30 new jobs and $7 million in investments.

“We’re really expecting between 30 and 50 jobs and the cultivation facility will be more like $8 million,” Kobs said. “It’s going to be awesome. It really is.”

Kobs hopes the growing structure will be completed next year and will be ready to use if the legislature approves medical marijuana.

Construction on the superstructure will take between 10 and 12 months. From there, Kudzu Cannabis will be in a holding pattern, awaiting the legislature to authorize the drug’s use.

“We’re going to start our structure and at least get the shell built and everything ready,” he said. “Hopefully, by then, there will be a law.

“If not, we’re going to hold until we have a law. Then, we’re going to spend money on the equipment and other things required for cannabis cultivation.

“We’re trying to reduce the risk as much as possible.”

Kobs said everything else is already lined up. His brother Jay, a professional cannabis cultivator with 20 years of experience in the field, is already on board.

Kudzu also has brought on several “top-end consultants,” including Andrew DeAngelo, a cannabis industry trailblazer who has been recognized by Forbes Magazine.

Additionally, he has reached out to Canton city leaders, who say they are on board with the project.

“We have absolutely done our homework,” Kobs said. “It can never hurt to have someone looking over your shoulder.”

Kobs, a graduate of the University of Mississippi and Mississippi College School of Law, has been practicing law for 20 years.

He was one of the strategic partners who worked to push through Initiative 65 last year.

He got involved, in part, because he knew how many people in Mississippi would benefit once the drug was made available.

“I thought it would be great for the community, great for patients of Mississippi, and would provide a pretty good living, too,” he said.

Most voters in the Magnolia State agreed, and the measure passed with 74 percent of the vote in 2020.

“I called my little brother and said, ‘I know you’ve been doing this for 20 years. Guess what? You’re coming home.”

However, the initiative was challenged in Mississippi Supreme Court by Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler, who said the process for allowing ballot initiatives was unconstitutional.

Justices struck down the ballot initiative process and the results of the Initiative 65 vote as a result.

Kobs is hopeful that the legislature will step in to legalize medical marijuana either during a special session this year or during a regular session in 2021.

Some state leaders have voiced their support for holding a special session on the issue, including House Speaker Philip Gunn and Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann.

“On medical marijuana, I’d like to get that started,” Hosemann said in May.

At a press conference Wednesday, Gov. Tate Reeves said progress is being made on a bill to legalize medical marijuana. He said once consensus on a bill is reached, he would call a special session.

“We feel pretty confident it will come to Mississippi,” Kobs said. “Seventy-four percent of Mississippi spoke and obviously, they said they wanted it. So, we’re fairly certain it’s going to come.”

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