Economic Development

11 Local Interests File for Medical Marijuana Licenses

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – At least 11 companies that have submitted applications to the state seeking either Level I or Level II licenses to grow medical marijuana in Ohio are considering the Mahoning Valley as a grow center.

Six have identified locations in Youngstown as potential sites to grow marijuana, according to a list of applications posted Wednesday on the Ohio Department of Commerce’s website at MedicalMarijuana.ohio.gov.

The other five companies have identified sites in the cities of Warren, Struthers and Campbell, and the village of Lowellville.

While the Ohio Commerce Department lists the names of applicants, it mostly did not identify the locations of their proposed ventures. Locations were identified only when a company submitted two separate applications for two separate sites.

An Ohio Department of Commerce spokeswoman said as of now the state would not release any additional details or the applications.

Two companies, Akron-based Somerset Cultivation Group LLC and Mahoning River Corridor Pharm LLC, have submitted applications for a Level I grow site and are considering Struthers as a location.

“It would be really beneficial for the city,” Struthers Mayor Terry Stocker said.

Somerset is considering building an indoor site at the Castlo Industrial Park while Mahoning River Corridor would build on vacant industrial land near the Mahoning River.

“It places Struthers on the map, and I understand these are good-paying jobs,” Stocker said. Consultants representing Somerset made a presentation before Struthers City Council earlier in the year and estimated the project would initially create between 25 and 30 jobs with the potential for expansion.

The Mahoning River Corridor group did not make a presentation before the city, Stocker said.

“I wish them all the best,” the mayor remarked.

The state released the names of 185 entities that have applied for Level I and Level II medical marijuana cultivation licenses. Of that number, 109 have applied for Level I licenses.

A Level I license allows a grower up to 25,000 square feet of cultivation space during the first phase with the potential to expand its footprint to 75,000 square feet over several years.

Seventy-six companies have applied for Level II licenses. These allow growing sites of up to 3,000 square feet and enables expansion to 6,000 square feet.

June 15 was the deadline to file an application for a Level II license, June 30 for a Level I license. Among the criteria is that each site be enclosed and zoned industrial or light industrial.

There is no timeframe as to when the state will decide which companies receive licenses, but the review should take several months. The state plans to award licenses for 12 Level I sites and 12 Level II sites.

Five companies – Mahoning Valley Agriculture LLC, Riviera Creek LLC, Fast Track Group, Quest Wellness LLC and Ohio Grown Medicine LLC – have expressed interest in securing a Level I license in Youngstown.

A sixth company – Silver Rapids LLC – has applied for a Level II license to grow medical marijuana at a site in the Performance Place Industrial Park.

All of the companies except Quest Wellness made presentations before Youngstown City Council in May. That company has applied for sites in Youngstown and Columbus, according to the state list.

Mahoning Valley Agriculture, fortified with $10 million from out of town investors, hopes to develop a grow site in the former Parker-Hannifin building in the Salt Springs Industrial Park.

At the same park, a group backed by local businessman Herb Washington, CEO of Fast Track LLC, has options on land near the shuttered Exterran plant to construct a new cultivation center.

The state does not name Fast Track Group as an applicant. However, during the informational session with council, company principals noted they were affiliated with a New York-based group, Columbia Care. The state does list a Columbia Care Ohio LLC as an applicant.

Riviera Creek LLC, which has ties to the Kessler family’s longtime businesses in the Mahoning Valley, has selected a building it owns on Crescent Street in the Riverbend district as its potential grow site.

Ohio Grown Medicine LLC has optioned the former Youngstown Building Materials site in Youngstown but it’s unclear whether its application to the state is intended for that location because its consultant implied in May that the venture was also considering other sites across Ohio.

Youngstown Community Director Bill D’Avignon recalls signing zoning approvals for five applications. Ohio Grown Medicine was not among them.

Other companies that have applied for licenses have expressed interest in constructing grow sites in communities elsewhere in the Mahoning Valley.

Two months ago, Patient Relief of Ohio reported its plans to build a cultivation center on Sferra Drive and North River Road in Warren, while another company, OH-Gro LLC, pitched officials about a site in the city of Campbell.

Another venture, Lake Erie Compassion Care LLC, has said it wants to locate a cultivation operation at a newly platted industrial park in Lowellville, said Mayor James Iudiciani.

“They have an option to purchase land there,” he said. The mayor said that the project would initially create between 50 and 70 jobs and add $2.5 million in payroll to the community.

“These guys have big money, so I hope it goes,” Iudiciani said.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.