Second Round of Medical Marijuana Cultivation Licenses Includes At Least One in Cuyahoga County

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Lemon Kush
The state announced the recipients of its 12 Level I medical marijuana cultivation licenses. These companies will be permitted to operate cannabis grow ops of up to 25,000 square feet.

Cuyahoga County will have at least one cultivator located within its bounds: Parma Wellness Center LLC will operate a large-scale cultivation facility somewhere within Parma. Harvest Grows LLC was granted two provisional licenses — in Cuyahoga County and Lawrence County — but may only use one; that company has 10 days to choose.

Here's the list of Level I operators:

Buckeye Relief LLC (Eastlake, Lake County)
Grow Ohio Pharmaceuticals LLC (Newton Township, Muskingum County)
OPC Cultivation LLC (Huron, Erie County)
Riviera Creek Holdings LLC (Youngstown, Mahoning County)
Pure Ohio Wellness LLC (Springfield, Clark County)
Columbia Care OH LLC (Mt. Orab, Brown County)
Terradiol Ohio LLC (Canton, Stark County)
Standard Wellness Company LLC (Gibsonburg, Sandusky County)
AT-CPC of Ohio LLC (Akron, Summit County)
Cresco Labs Ohio LLC (Yellow Springs, Greene County)
Parma Wellness Center LLC (Parma, Cuyahoga County)
Harvest Grows LLC (Hamilton Township, Lawrence County)
Harvest Grows LLC (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)

The state announced its Level II license recipients earlier this month. None were granted in Cuyahoga County.

As part of a feature story on the medical marijuana law, we interviewed Buckeye Relief's Andy Rayburn, who now holds a Level I cultivation license in Lake County. Here's an excerpt from that story:

"We went into it with an open mind," [Eastlake mayor Dennis] Morley says. "I sat down with my police chief and my fire chief, and if they hadn't been on board there wouldn't have been any more discussions. They understand the difference between the medical and the recreational. We've really not found anything that's been negative, from our end as a city."

Rayburn's initial annual payroll is estimated at $1.5 million across 30 jobs. "We fully expect to double, triple or quadruple," he adds. His is one of the "tier-1" 25,000-square-foot facilities, where Buckeye will grow marijuana and then extract its oils and process them for tincture and edible production. The law will not allow patients to smoke marijuana, but rather consume the plant's active cannabinoids through oils (vaping), tinctures, patches or edibles.

Briefly, here's how the cultivation process works — and why Rayburn and others argue that it's best to have these things happening on the same property: Marijuana plants are cultivated in staggered groups that include various varieties or strains. A portion of the plants will be trimmed down to flower, to be sold through dispensaries. Most of the plant will go to extraction and refinement for the end oil product, to be sold for direct consumption through vape pens and for edible processing.

Different strains are grown in different rooms in different, staggered structures. Think lighting levels, air flow, temperature control, "fertigation," pest control. "It's a really, really complicated growing process," Rayburn says. He's traveled to more than 100 cultivation facilities, from Colorado westward, where the markets are more mature, to get a sense of direction.

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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