Company News

Medical Marijuana Applicants Secure Sites in City

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mahoning Valley Agriculture LLC, one of five companies seeking a state license to run a medical marijuana cultivation center within the city, has secured the former Parker Hannifin building for its project, an attorney who represents the group said Thursday.

Mahoning Valley Agriculture, a company backed by $10 million from three out-of-town private equity investors, has the Intertech Drive building under contract, attorney David Betras reported.

The company is seeking one of the 12 Tier I cultivation center licenses the state is offering. Such a license would permit it to operate a 25,000-square-foot center with the potential to expand to 75,000 square feet. Representatives of the group spoke earlier this month with The Business Journal, and the partnership is among five that made presentations to City Council May 15.

On Thursday, the city Board of Control approved selling options for two parcels on Logan Avenue to another of the five companies seeking a state license to grow medical marijuana in the city.

Buckeye Wellness Research Fund LLC will pay the city $10,000 — $5,000 for each parcel – for the nine acres, Law Director Martin Hume said.

Buckeye Wellness is affiliated with Ohio Grown Medicine. At a May 15 meeting with City Council, Les Hollis, a consultant for Ohio Grown Medicine, outlined plans to spend up to $10 million to construct a new building to house an indoor farm.

Ohio Grown Medicine is also seeking a Tier I license. The licenses will be awarded by the state of Ohio, but the city can determine whether to allow the cultivation centers to operate within its borders.

Another of the five applicants seeking to operate here, Riviera Creek LLC, includes members of the Kessler family, which also owns Boardman Molded Products. The Kessler family has a building on Crescent Street where it plans to spend $2 million initially to retrofit as a cultivation center.

Other entities seeking grow operation licenses are Fast Track Group, backed by local McDonald’s franchisee Herb Washington and his son Terrell, and Silver Rapids LLC.

Fast Track Group, Silver Rapids and Rivera Creek all have local investors.

As of Thursday, no legislation had been submitted to the law department regarding any of the five applicants, Hume said.

Council President Charles Sammarone, who supports permitting a cultivation center in the city, said he is unaware of any preference among councilmen for any of the five license applicants.

First Ward Councilman Julius Oliver said he also was unaware of any preference among council member for any of the applicants, but that members were generally supportive of permitting a city site.

Council’s next regular meeting is scheduled June 7. Deadline for submitting an application to the state is June 30.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.