Cannabis plant

We’ve all heard the proverb “patience is a virtue.” Well, it looks like we’ll need to be virtuous when it comes to the proposed hemp processing facility in Parker South. The simple fact of the matter is these things take time. Development is never an easy process.

The matter came up at a Parker Town Council work session Feb. 4, when Council Member Karen Bonds asked D.L. Wilson and Skip Becker of the La Paz Economic Development Corporation about the status of the hemp facility. She said there have been people calling Town Hall asking about job applications.

Wilson and Becker effectively asked everyone to be patient, noting it takes time to get projects like this completed. They said they would make the proper announcements at the right time when they are ready.

It’s easy to see why people are excited about this. The project was officially announced in December. The $25 million facility will be located on the former Liquid Titan site in Parker South. It is estimated it will employ almost 100 people at an average wage of $66,000 per year. It will be built by the Calyxar Group, which is headed by John Knight.

Becker stated this will be the single largest investment ever within the Town of Parker.

The size is one of the reasons why it will take time to build. Look at how long it took Rose Acre Farms to have their egg farm up and running in Bouse after the project was announced. It took a while, but they got it done. It’s now the biggest employer in the county and has contributed much to the local economy and tax base.

Development doesn’t occur overnight. There is a step-by-step process that needs to be followed. There will likely be mis-steps and setbacks along the way. There almost always are. Yet, if Rose Acre Farms is an example, things will slowly fall into place and the facility will be built.

It should also be noted hemp processing is a new industry in America and Arizona. For many years, growing hemp in this country was actually illegal. That changed with the 2018 Farm Bill. As with any new industry, it will take time for things to get organized and sorted out.

Hemp offers all kinds of promise for Arizona. It has been used for fabrics and paper for centuries around the world. It uses a lot less water and pesticides than cotton, so it sounds like a great crop for the desert. However, as it is a new industry, there are uncertainties involved.

We have to commend the Calyxar Group, Knight, and the La Paz EDC for wanting to get into this new industry, even with all the uncertainties involved. While it’s a risk, the rewards for success appear almost limitless.

For the time being, we will need to be patient and let the process run its course. We have to ask people not to call Town Hall about job applications. When they’re ready to start hiring, they’ll let us all know. Hopefully, we won’t have that long to wait.

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