Chehalis warehouse may become the state's largest marijuana farm

by: Kevin McCarty Updated:

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CHEHALIS, Wash. - A massive warehouse in Chehalis could become Washington state’s largest indoor marijuana factory farm. 

So far 24 people or companies have requested applications to grow pot inside the 173,000-square foot building.

But there is a big problem:  none of those applicants have talked to the building’s owner, the city of Chehalis, the Lewis County Port Authority or even the real estate agent listing the site.

The building once housed products for home electronics giant Circuit City until that company went bankrupt in 2008.  Recently the Washington State Liquor Control Board began receiving applications to grow pot there.

The warehouse is part of the port of Lewis County.  But Dave Muller, interim port director, says he wasn’t aware of any plan to grow pot at the site until he started getting calls from reporters.

“That’s the first we’d heard of it,” said Muller.

Muller said anyone who wanted to grow weed in the giant facility would first have to climb a mountain of bureaucratic red tape involving several different government agencies.  

"Obviously the state, Lewis County and the city of Chehalis, because this is in the Chehalis urban growth area,” said Muller.

Chehalis Community Development Director Lee Napier wouldn’t comment on the proposed pot farm, saying no one had contacted her office with any plans. 

A real estate agent listing the site was quoted by a Lewis County newspaper saying she hadn’t been contacted by anyone interested in buying or leasing the site for a pot farm.

A state liquor control board spokesman said it appears applicants simply sent in paperwork hoping to get permits without contacting anyone connected with the site.

The applicants are listed on the WSLCB website, but there is no contact information included.

Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield said a large-scale indoor marijuana farm could pose a lot of law enforcement issues, but he’s convinced it will never happen.

“It’s rather amusing,” said Mansfield. “They will have quite a process to go through. I feel comfortable that that isn’t going to happen at this address of any other address in the near future.”