The decision by Plexis CEO Jorge Yant to withdraw plans for an indoor marjiuana growing operation in the Plexis building at Oak and A streets should remove obstacles to city approval of the rest of Yant's plans for the building.
Plexis Healthcare Systems, a company that developed and marketed computer software for medical insurance claims processing, outgrew the former Oak Street Tank and Steel building and moved to larger quarters in Medford a year ago. Yant applied to the city for permission to start an indoor commercial marijuana growing operation in the 6,000-square-foot building along with a retail dispensary.
The proposal drew vocal opposition from some Ashland residents who questioned the use of city water, and the potential for fertilizers and other contaminants in wastewater, as well as raising questions about odors and effects on property values. In response to the objections, Yant said, he decided to withdraw the cultivation portion of the proposal.
He says the dispensary, which he calls a Healing and Thriving Arts Center, will feature an herbal apothecary offering herbal remedies beyond just cannabis, plus clothing and other products made from hemp, the non-psychoactive relative of marijuana grown for its fiber. It would be Ashland's fifth retail cannabis outlet.
We supported the original proposal, as long as air and water quality concerns could be addressed. We thought traffic concerns were overblown, considering the A Street Marketplace operated multiple businesses there and Plexis had more than 100 employees. Without the cultivation component, the project should proceed smoothly.