COLUMBUS — Clinton County is a big step closer to being the home of one of Ohio’s first medicinal marijuana growers.
On Friday Ohio announced it had chosen its first 11 growers for its medical marijuana program, but it could be months before they can start their first crop.
The smaller (Level II) growers announced Friday by the Department of Commerce would cultivate up to 3,000 square feet. That’s a small portion of the anticipated cultivation. Up to a dozen larger growers for sites up to 25,000 square feet (Level I) are expected to be announced later this month.
Ancient Roots LLC was chosen for a smaller grow site in Wilmington.
David C. Haley of Lebanon, Ohio, who heads up Ancient Roots LLC, said Friday they are “excited for the opportunity, excited for Ohio and especially excited for the city of Wilmington.” He hopes to meet with city building officials in the next couple weeks to review Ancient Roots’ plans.
Haley said the company will bring in an experienced cultivation manager who currently works in Colorado, but is from the Midwest and was looking to relocate back here.
Haley added he looks forward to a very strong business relationship with the City of Wilmington.
In a July 22 News Journal story, Wilmington Judiciary Committee Chairman Matt Purkey said the city had received three different applications for a cultivating license for medical marijuana facilities — among them CannAscend Ohio LLC, a Level I applicant, and Ancient Roots, a Level II applicant.
The site Haley is eyeing is about eight acres off U.S. 68 South within the city limits and on the UPS side of the roadway. The location offers access to the Interstate highway system which is key, he said, as cultivators can sell directly to processors or dispensaries and thus take part in making deliveries to those businesses. The business would initially employ about seven or eight people.
As for a possible larger Clinton County grow site, CannAscend Ohio’s proposed Level I facility would be built on land owned by the Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) of Wilmington. The CIC of Wilmington is a not-for-profit community development organization that facilitates industrial and commercial investment to promote economic development and job creation, according to its website.
Council member Joe Spicer was asked in July what this would mean in regard to jobs. According to Purkey, if it is CannAscend it would start with 40 to 60 positions, but it could reach up to 300 positions. He added that while some jobs will be paid more than others, these would be jobs that could support a family.
The 11 chosen growers applied for sites in Butler, Clinton, Fairfield, Franklin, Lorain, Lucas, Meigs, Montgomery, Portage, Stark and Summit counties.
These companies will get provisional licenses but can’t immediately begin growing marijuana. They must first get their businesses operational and have a state team visit their facilities.
In June a total of 185 applications were received from potential growers by the Ohio Department of Commerce.
The complete list of Ohio’s provisional license recipients is at https://medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/cultivation .
The Associated Press contributed to this story.