February, 2010 Archives

Where The Grass is Getting Greener

State approval of the use of marijuana for reducing nausea in chemotherapy patients and other medical applications is spreading like, well, marijuana. Fourteen states now have approved the possession of up to six ounces of pot for medical purposes, the latest being New Jersey, which passed a medical marijuana bill early last month that was signed into law by outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine. Numerous other states have medical marijuana bills pending. California, the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, has seen an explosion of marijuana “clinics” in recent years, hundreds of outlets that dispense weed for everything from cancer treatment to “stress” as long as a doctor is willing to write a prescription. With the nation’s largest state teetering on the brink of fiscal collapse, a growing movement in California has been promoting outright legalization or at least taxation of the state’s burgeoning pot crop as a means of generating revenue. Unofficial estimates suggest that marijuana is the largest harvested crop in the Golden State. Much bigger than broccoli without a doubt. So perhaps it is only inevitable that the focus of the medical marijuana debate is shifting from the virtues of using the plant for medical purposes to the economic potency of weed as a cash crop. This is the case in Colorado, which legalized medical marijuana in 2000. State legislators are now grappling with the issues surrounding the state’s growing number of marijuana delivery outlets. This prompted one Denver city councilwoman, Carol Boignon, to write an op-ed column in the Colorado Statesman warning about the dangers of treating pot as an economic development tool. Here are Ms. Boignon’s comments: “More than 400 medical marijuana dispensaries have applied for use permits in Denver, most of them in the last two and a half months. Constituents on all sides of the issue have contacted me: patients depending on marijuana to ease their illnesses, caregivers seeking to provide a service, and deeply concerned residents trying to protect their neighborhoods from crime and their children from harm. How did Denver get here? A little history: In 2000, Colorado voters authorized the use of medical marijuana for adults suffering from certain illnesses, including cancer, and for pain. Denver voters were strong supporters of the initiative. In 2007, Denver voters by 57 percent to 43 percent authorized the City to make enforcement of possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana a low priority, despite federal laws making possession a felony. In 2007, Denver District Judge Larry Naves ruled that the state […]

OK Governor Urges Funding for EDGE

OK Governor Urges Funding for EDGE

Gov. Brad Henry is asking state lawmakers to develop a permanent funding source for a planned $1 billion endowment to help fund research projects in Oklahoma. Henry last week urged the Legislature to dedicate a revenue stream for the Economic Development Generating Excellence, or EDGE, fund. The Legislature voted to create the endowment in 2004, but only $150 million has been deposited so far. Interest from the fund is used to pay for research projects that attract capital and high paying jobs to the state. Henry previously has suggested setting aside a portion of state investment earnings, gross production receipts or reserve fund interest earnings. Under his latest plan, designated funding would not begin flowing to the endowment until the state’s budget crisis is over.

Georgia Corporate Moves

Orcon Products Expands to Coffee County The Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) has announced that Orcon Products, based in Union City, CA, is expanding to Douglas, GA in Coffee County. With this expansion, Orcon plans to create at least 50 direct jobs within the plant’s first 12 months of operation. “Manufacturing companies like Orcon Products represent a vital part of Georgia’s diverse economy,” said Ken Stewart, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “Georgia’s progressive business climate will benefit Orcon Products and foster continued economic growth for Coffee County.” Formed in 1962, Orcon Products manufactures seaming tape for aerospace and carpet applications. The company’s Douglas plant will primarily be tasked with manufacturing carpet seaming tape. This operation will locate in an existing 45,000-square-foot warehouse in Douglas, and will be ready for production by March 2010. Hiring is scheduled to begin by the end of February 2010. “The positive guidance and assistance that the Georgia Department of Economic Development and the Douglas-Coffee County Development Authority provided to Orcon Products during its search for a location for a new manufacturing site were deciding factors in Orcon Products selection of Douglas-Coffee County,” said Hollis Bascom, Orcon Corporation founder, president and CEO. “It’s always a pleasure to work with professionals.” In addition to Coffee County’s pro-business climate, Orcon Products will also leverage the benefit of a well-trained workforce through collaboration with Quick Start, Georgia’s strategic workforce training solution. Quick Start’s five regional offices mean that no matter where in Georgia a company chooses to locate, a Quick Start team of experts is available to provide training services. “It is always a great feeling to bring new jobs to Coffee County and Georgia,” said JoAnne Lewis, Executive Director of the Douglas-Coffee County Development Authority.  “With more than 40 years of success, Orcon is a great example of entrepreneurship. The doors of our community are open to job growth and we are proud to have Orcon as a partner.” U.K.-Based Metal Products Facility Set for Liberty County Gov. Sonny Perdue has announced the expansion of Firth Rixson Limited, a United Kingdom-based provider of highly engineered forged metal products, to Midway in Liberty County. The 200,000-square-foot facility will serve as a closed die forging operation providing components for the aerospace industry. Once fully operational, the company’s Georgia facility will create at least 200 local jobs. “The aerospace sector is a targeted industry for Georgia,” said Gov. Perdue. “With the opening of its new operation in Liberty County, Firth Rixson Limited strengthens our leadership position in […]