A public meeting Monday night allowed people to weigh in on a proposal by a pharmaceutical company to purchase the building that once housed the Bristol, Virginia Mall.
The company, Par Ventures Incorporated, said it plans to revamp part of the building into a pharmaceutical processing facility to produce and dispense cannabidiol or CBD oil for medical purposes. It plans to bring with it hundreds of jobs.
The city is waiting on approval from the Virginia Pharmacy Board.
In downtown Bristol, it was hard to find opposition to the proposed facility.
“I think it’s a good thing,” said Penny Holley.
“On one level a production use of the property is a good idea. The fact that it’s medical marijuana I’m sure is going to be of concern to a lot of people but medical marijuana’s nothing new. It’s nothing new,” Susan Lachmann said.
Members of the public were invited to attend an educational forum to discuss the proposal.
“This is a unique opportunity for Bristol simply because there’s only going to be five conditional licenses approved for the entire state of Virginia,” said City Manager and Attorney Randy Eads.
He said the first part of the meeting was open for public comment, then the city council voted whether to give authorization to him to send a letter of support to the board of pharmacy for the proposed business.
“If the company that’s proposing this business for the Bristol Mall receives this license, that means they are the only business that’s licensed to do it in this region and this region goes from Danville to Roanoke, all the way through Southwest Virginia,” Eads explained.
He said he anticipates city council to approve the letter of support because he hasn’t heard much opposition to the facility either.
“I anticipated a little more backlash than what we’ve received. Overwhelmingly it’s been support from the public that we have received in regards to this business,” he said.
Eads said it’s up to the Commonwealth to approve the license.
That conditional approval is expected by the end of August.