Officials vote to allow growing facility to operate in Oceana

WYOMING COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Officials in Oceana make a controversial decision to allow a company to turn what was once a Magic Mart into a medical marijuana growing facility.

“I’m in support of it being a growing facility,” says town recorder Jim Cook. “I think it could actually help this area. I am for medical marijuana. I think it helps a lot of people, so I hope they get it.”

Some community members at Thursday night’s council meeting supported the idea, while others were on the fence or even appalled.

“Any business is good business that employs people,” said Roger Davis.”However, just right up the street, you’ve got a drug rehab center. There’s kind of a conflict right there.”

Citizens expressed their concerns about dispensaries following the growing facility to the area. Others were more concerned about marijuana being used as dry leaves rather than oil. A large part of the discussion, however, centered around the idea of marijuana being a gateway drug and leading to more problems with the opioid epidemic.

“I have had personal experience with people who started on the marijuana and [it] lead to something worse,” said Randall Topping. “As a matter of fact, I’m a preacher and I’ve worked several funerals of people where that’s what happened to them.”

The growing facility would not sell directly to the public and would operate under heavy security.

Following an hour and a half discussion, officials moved to issue a letter of support for the facility, hoping to draw in revenue for the town.

“The economic benefits to the town would be great with the revenue,” said council member Jared Harless. “I feel that passing the opportunity up would leave us with an empty building and a lost opportunity [that] we would regret later on.”

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.