You can’t miss the construction growing by the day or the cranes dominating the landscape in Danville. In a former factory, once vacated, Green Thumb Industries is expanding.

And that is exciting news for the borough, the Valley and the state’s increasing number of medical marijuana patients.

GTI, as it is more commonly known, has been growing — both literally and figuratively — in Danville since it was awarded one of the state’s first medical marijuana licenses in 2017. It started with an initial $5 million investment to renovate part of the Iron Town Commerce Center. The first marijuana plants were planted and harvested in 2018.

Now it is building up and out with construction underway on a new three-story attachment to expand the growing operation. The expansion, when completed in several years, is expected to add another 100 jobs to a roster that is close to that already in the borough.

Since the program began, more than 300,000 Pennsylvanians have been registered for a medical marijuana card and about 30,000 medical providers have been approved by the state to recommend the medicine to patients.

GTI has been at the forefront of the program in Pennsylvania and especially in Montour County. It was the first local grower and continues to add jobs.

More jobs mean more product, which means more relief for Pennsylvanians who have long waited for relief for 23 approved conditions.

But GTI’s impact has been beyond the walls of its expanding home on the corner of Market and Railroad streets.

A few times a year, dozens of GTI employees spread across the county to help with community projects. Earlier this year, 80 employees were scattered across Danville, from the Thomas Beaver Free Library to the Danville Area Community Center and Riverfront Park.

The employees said they missed that community outreach over the past year when the pandemic limited many social interactions.

“It’s important for businesses in the area to be part of the community and to show they care about the community they operate in,” Tommy Marks, GTI’s Community and Employee Relations Coordinator, said during the spring outreach. “We want to show our employees that there is more than what they do in an average day, it is important to be involved.”

GTI is not alone in that outreach. It has quickly joined a growing list of community partners that improve the places we live, both by creating jobs and bolstering the economy, but also by just being present in the community.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.

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