Group eyes building a medical marijuana grow facility on Davids Drive in Wilmington


WILMINGTON — Three men will apply for a cultivation license that would pave the way for their company to build a medical marijuana growing facility in Wilmington.

CannAscend Ohio LLC issued a press release Wednesday to announce its plans to build on Davids Drive, pending state licensing of the group’s application to grow medical cannabis, which was legalized in Ohio in 2016.

They plan to apply for one of 12 of the state’s Level I licenses which permits operating a facility with up to 25,000 square feet of growing space.

Under Ohio law enacted in 2016, cultivator rules must be adopted by the state prior to May 6, 2017. The formal application process for licensure is expected to follow shortly thereafter, according to the CannAscend Ohio release.

CannAscend Ohio is headed by Jimmy Gould, Bill Brisben and Ian James, the release stated. Gould and James were behind a 2015 effort to legalize medical and recreational marijuana that was defeated at the ballot box, according to a report Wednesday.

Brisben served as the U.S. representative to UNICEF from 2002 to 2009.

The proposed 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.

CIC of Wilmington Executive Director David Raizk, a former Wilmington mayor, said, “The proposal offers the exciting prospect of growing significant well-paying jobs and strengthening Wilmington’s position as a regional center of pharmaceutical-related manufacturing. Production of agriculture-based natural remedies for chronic medical conditions will benefit enormously from our strengths as a center of farming and manufacturing.”

Wilmington Mayor John Stanforth said, “The growth of plant-based pharmaceuticals represents an important new trend in medical science. The resulting jobs and potential for greater research opportunities offers important prospects for partnerships with area colleges that have a focus on agriculture science, chemistry and biology.”

Stanforth added, “We’re pleased to take this critical step to bring much-needed relief to pain sufferers who can benefit from these new legal remedies.”

Brisben said in the release, “We’re pleased to be standing with Wilmington and the people who were instrumental in bringing legal medical cannabis to Ohio. We have a great opportunity to build an industry and facility in Wilmington that will provide medical cannabis to alleviate the suffering of so many people.”

Gould said, “This has been a long journey, but a satisfying one because we’ve always kept our eye on legalizing medical cannabis for chronically ill Ohioans — our returning veterans suffering from PTSD, children with epilepsy, those suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s and the many others suffering from debilitating illnesses.”

He concluded the release by saying, “What endeared us to the community was the character, integrity and perseverance of the community which opened its arms to us. We fought for the patients of Ohio and now will continue our fight for the people of Wilmington.”

According to the release, CannAscend also has future plans to ask the state to expand to 50,000 square feet and later 75,000 square feet. The company also stated it plans to utilize the 19.2-acres parcel to build a research facility, and plans to apply for a product manufacturing license.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

By Gary Huffenberger

[email protected]

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