- Thomson Reuters
The tiny village of Mount Orab and the city of Akron are among diverse locations of the 12 large growers Ohio picked Thursday to participate in its medical marijuana program.
In announcing the large cultivators and a final small grower, the state rounded out the list of 24 companies authorized to produce medicinal crops under a new system expected to go live by September. Ohio is the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana.
Large growers paid $20,000 to apply to operate sites up to 25,000 square feet. Initial license fees were $180,000 and renewals will cost $200,000 annually.
Spokeswoman Stephanie Gostomski said all of the sites will be indoor, high-security, regulated businesses – not outdoor farms or even the type of traditional greenhouses that Ohioans might envision.
“As you drive by, you won’t necessarily know these are grow facilities,” she said.
Here’s a map of the locations of the growers in the state:
- Google Maps/Jonathan Garber
The companies have nine months to get their businesses operational, and a state team must visit their facilities before they get a certificate that allows them to grow, she said.
Some local governments have instituted moratoriums on growing or dispensing medical marijuana, but the department isn’t aware of any such conflicts with the locations for the selected smaller growers. One of the businesses, Harvest Grows LLC, submitted applications for two locations – one in Hamilton Township in Lawrence County, and one in Cleveland. It will have 10 days to pick between the two.
Marijuana, both medicinal and recreational, is considered an illegal Schedule 1 drug by the federal government. 29 states, however, have legalized some form of medical marijuana and allow doctors to prescribe the drug to patients.
Ohio’s medical marijuana law, passed last year, allows people with medical conditions such as cancer and epilepsy to buy and use marijuana if a doctor recommends it. It doesn’t allow smoking.
The state has offered the maximum number of licenses that it was allowed.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, though a noted opponent of medical cannabis, called for “more competition” among marijuana growers who supply the plant to researchers, in his October testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The Drug Enforcement Administration – which dictates the legal status of controlled substances – announced last year that it planned to increase the supply of medical marijuana available to researchers, potentially paving the way for the Food and Drug Administration to approve a non-synthetic marijuana-based drug.
Prior to the DEA’s ruling, the only supply of marijuana available to researchers was grown at a facility at the University of Mississippi, and many complained that the marijuana was low-quality.
Ohio accepted 185 total applications, which are evaluated based on their plans for business, operations, quality assurance, security and finances.
Among those selected Thursday, the top-scoring applicant was Buckeye Relief LLC, of Eastlake in Lake County. The other large growers chosen are:
- Grow Ohio Pharmaceuticals LLC in Newton Township, Muskingum County
- OPC Cultivation LLC in Huron, Erie County
- Riviera Creek Holdings LLC in Youngstown
- Pure Ohio Wellness LLC in Springfield
- Columbia Care OH LLC in Mount Orab, Brown County
- Terradiol Ohio LLC in Canton
- AT-CPC of Ohio LLC in Akron
- Standard Wellness Company LLC in Gibsonburg, Sandusky County
- Cresco Labs Ohio LLC in Yellow Springs
- Parma Wellness Center LLC in Parma
- Harvest Grows LLC
The final small grower chosen was Farkas Farms LLC in Grafton, Lorain County.