Florida’s largest medicinal marijuana processing facility coming to Ocala

Florida’s largest medicinal marijuana processing facility is coming to Ocala.

Green Thumb Industries (GTI), one of the largest national brands in the medical cannabis industry, has purchased property at 5401 NW 44th Ave. and plans to convert the 28.5-acre location to what would be the largest grow facility in Florida.

The location, which has been vacant for over 15 years, was formerly occupied by Mark III Industrial Park and will undergo a complete renovation and restoration.

Mark III Industrial Park in Ocala, Florida
Green Thumb Industries will build a new marijuana processing facility at the property formerly occupied by Mark II Industrial Park at 5410 NW 44th Ave.

The announcement was made during Wednesday morning’s exCEPtional Breakfast, a monthly networking meeting hosted by the Ocala Chamber and Economic Partnership (CEP). According to CEP President Kevin Sheilley, the first phase of the project will create more than 100 new jobs and produce a capital investment of $15 million. The initial phase will begin with demolition of portions of the site, the development of two new structures, and the redevelopment of two existing structures on the property.

The Mark III Industrial Park has nearly a dozen buildings that have been abandoned for the last 15 years
The Mark III Industrial Park has nearly a dozen buildings that have been abandoned for the past 15 years.

Currently, Florida law requires vertical integration of businesses in the medicinal cannabis industry, meaning they must own and operate the processing facilities that supply their retail locations across Florida. Although the business is licensed for 35 retail stores in the state, they currently operate 6 dispensaries under the name Rise.

GTI operates in 12 states and is one of only 14 companies that currently have a license to sell medicinal marijuana in the state of Florida. The company is publicly-traded on the Canadian Securities Exchange and is headquartered in Chicago.

“Not only will this project create jobs and investment in the community, it further diversifies our economy and addresses what had become an eyesore along a major artery into the community,” says Sheilley.

Although there are a collection of medicinal marijuana dispensaries operating across Marion, Sumter, and Lake counties with many providing delivery to the city, Ocala currently only has one medicinal marijuana dispensary within city limits (Curaleaf).