SOUTH AVIS — Terrapin, a manufacturer of medical marijuana products here, is re-investing in its local plant — and workforce.
Troy Conzelmann, the company’s East Coast director of operations, brought his enthusiasm for Terrapin and its mission to the Kiwanis Club of Lock Haven as a guest speaker recently.
Terrapin was founded in Colorado in 2009 and expanded to Pennsylvania in 2017 upon the state’s approval of medical marijuana products for the treatment of various health ailments.
The firm worked with the Clinton County Economic Partnership and settled into the old but sprawling Avis Homes plant just off state Route 220 in eastern Clinton County.
Terrapin hasn’t looked back since.
With 35 workers, Terrapin began cultivating, packaging and distributing medical marijuana products to dispensaries licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health in 2017.
Three years later — and amid COVID-19 — the firm expanded operations by roughly 80,000 more square feet and increased its workforce to 110 people.
They’re not done.
In early 2022, Terrapin and its founder Chris Woods plan to add another 75,000 square feet for cultivation and packaging and grow their workforce to as many as 180 people, Conzelmann said.
“We reinvest” to grow jobs and product, Conzelmann, a California native, said.
As to the benefits of medical marijuana, Conzelmann related a story about an area boy who was suffering upward of 12 seizures a day.
Terrapin created a product to help and the boy has seen significant progress in curbing those seizures.
The firm’s products are even used by cancer patients, as Conzelmann said the products’ treatment benefits tend to “get lost in medical misinformation.”
“We want to help as many people as possible,” Conzelmann said.
According to the Mayo Clinic, medical marijuana is used to treat a variety of health ailments. Studies report that medical cannabis has possible benefit for several conditions.
But state laws vary in which conditions qualify people for treatment with medical marijuana. The Centers for Disease Control and the Pennsylvania Health Department encourage people to check state regulations to determine if they qualify for treatment with medical marijuana.
For example, qualifying conditions can include (depending on state):
— Alzheimer’s disease.
— Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
— Crohn’s disease.
— Epilepsy and seizures.
— Multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms.
— Severe and chronic pain.
— Severe nausea.
Terrapin, meanwhile, will be in need of new hires as it expands its operations.
The company has set a minimum wage companywide of $15 an hour with healthcare insurance and a 401k plan for qualified employees, Conzelmann said, noting Terrapin started that a few years ago to attract workers.
The firm uses veterans for plant security through locally owned VetForce, Inc.