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Community divided on plans for marijuana facility in Cathedral City

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CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - The approval of a large medical marijuana facility in Cathedral City is stirring a lot of mixed emotions.

After receiving unanimous approval by the city's Planning Commission, groundbreaking for the 489,000-square-foot medical cannabis cultivation and production facility is set to begin in three weeks.

Sunniva, a Canadian based marijuana distributor, will complete development in the next three years in two phases.

Read: Cathedral City approves medical cannabis facility

Phase I involves building a 325,000-square-foot facility thst is anticipated to produce 177,000 pounds of dry cannabis per year.

Phase II is planned to be 164,000 square-feet and will deliver 100,000 lbs. of medical cannabis per year.

The facility is stirring up a lot of mixed emotions. 

"Usually people who smoke marijuana add other drugs to it, so no, I'm against it," said Rose Nash of Cathedral City.

The facility is good news for people such as Teresa Alexander, a cancer survivor who says medical marijuana saved her life.

"The more they build the more help cancer patients like me can receive the help. It made me feel better. It brought my cell count up."

At least 185 full-time positions will be available at the facility, with an average pay of $22 per hour, and the city anticipates a tax revenue of $5 million per year.

"Knowing that some of the revenue is coming in, we've hired four additional police officers, 10 additional firefighters, so you're already seeing the benefits now," said Chris Parman, Cathedral City Communication and Event manager.

Duncan Gordon, Chief Operating Officer of Sunniva, says there should be little to no odor and high security is expected on the premises.

"We have significant odor control in place, and as technology improves we will continue to enhance the ability of odor control. We will also introduce 24-hour on guard security, additionally 325 cameras and 66 motion detectors."

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