Fight over marijuana greenhouse could cost 200 jobs

By Erasmus Baxter | Phoenix New Times

A multinational tomato company has warned rural Graham County it will have to cut nearly 200 local jobs and almost $500,000 in education funding if neighbors continue to block a deal to sell part of its greenhouse complex to a marijuana grower.

NatureSweet CEO Rodolfo Spielmann told Phoenix New Times that the Texas-based company has lost millions of dollars in each of the eight years it has owned the 479-acre site about 10 miles south of Fort Grant. It’s costly to maintain the acres of greenhouses that cover more than half the property and aren’t fully used, but the company has tried to make it work, in part to keep the jobs there, he said.

“Thankfully, we have been able to invest — or lose — those tens of millions of dollars in the facility because the company, NatureSweet, is very strong,” Spielmann said. “But there’s a moment that we cannot keep doing that. That was my decision of ‘Okay, we need to look for a different option.'”

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