A national medical marijuana company is moving its Texas headquarters from Austin to San Marcos where it's building a $25 million cultivation and retail facility to serve the state’s small but growing market. Goodblend Texas formerly known as Surterra Texas broke ground on the planned 63,000-square-foot San Marcos facility last month and said it will employ over 100 people. Future expansions of the project will add to its workforce, the company said.
Goodblend is a subsidiary of Parallel, an Atlanta-based cannabis venture headed by chewing gum heir William "Beau" Wrigley Jr. Parallel has operations in a number of states where marijuana is legal either for medical or adult recreational uses, including Florida, Massachusetts and Nevada.
Its investment in Texas is a bet that what currently is a minuscule market for medical marijuana here is poised for substantial growth. As of April, only 5,413 patients were registered for the state's restrictive medical cannabis program, called the Compassionate Use Act. The figure has been climbing, however, and the number eligible to participate in it has been estimated at up to about 2 million statewide.
In addition, a measure that has gained some traction in the state Legislature — House Bill 1535 — would include more ailments in the list of qualifying conditions and increase the number of potential patients. If approved, the bill would substantially expand the Texas medical cannabis program, although it still would be much more limited than those in many other states.
Marcus Ruark, president of goodblend Texas, said the company is committed to the San Marcos project even if lawmakers opt against expanding the program this year because it considers the existing potential market sizable enough to support the move. “The investment in this (San Marcos) facility and construction of it and the hiring of all these positions is not dependent on anything that happens in this legislative session," Ruark said. Still, “whatever happens to expand the number of patients who can get access to this medicine is a great thing," he said.
The San Marcos facility will be on a 12-acre site along Leah Avenue near Interstate 35, just across from a U.S. Army Reserve Center. It's expected to be finished in phases, with the first building targeted for completion by the end of the year. Goodblend Texas currently has a production and delivery facility in Austin, which is likely to close once the San Marcos facility opens because current state regulations only allow medical cannabis operations to have single physical locations.
The company has consistently declined to reveal the address of its Austin location, in part because it doesn't conduct in-person retail sales out of it. The American-Statesman has previously reported the address as 6912 Hergotz Lane, an industrial area east of Interstate 35, citing information from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Two other companies have been licensed to cultivate, produce and sell medical cannabis under the state's program. Texas Original Compassionate Cultivation, formerly just Compassionate Cultivation, is located in Manchaca in the Austin metro area. Fluent, a subsidiary of Florida-based Cansortium, is located in Schulenberg.