YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio’s medical marijuana program is picking up steam going into full effect by the end of the year.
2 NEWS got a tour of one of Cresco Lab’s cultivation facilities in Joliet, Illinois. Cresco is the same company planning to open shop in Yellow Springs this summer.
“It’s important for us to have the cameras come in and show people behind the curtain. Everyone has preconceived notion and I highly doubt it’s this,” said Cresco Labs CEO Charlie Bachtell.
Construction is underway in Yellow Springs to build a 23,294 square foot steel greenhouse and 26,445 square foot processing facility.
“When you see the benefits of the program come to life in your state and the patients getting the benefit of it and who participates in the program, it would be difficult for anybody to not be supportive,” said Bachtell.
Bachtell has visited the village and is happy about the community embracing the company.
“Yellow Springs’ community engagement was a big part of our application process.”
“Yellow Springs’ community engagement was a big part of our application process. We’re super excited about being a part of the community,” said Bachtell.
More than 40 strains of marijuana go through the entire grow cycle inside the facility, producing medical-grade cannabis. Cresco’s Senior Vice President of Production Jason Nelson oversees that process.
“We operate under the same guidelines and restrictions than any medical company would,” said Nelson.
The plants are tracked and registered with the state from the time they are a few inches tall to the time the product hits the shelves. Products like edible gummy treats or pens that work like electronic cigarettes.
“When we’re looking to manufacture a product it needs to be consistent, repeatable, dosable. So, someone taking it has confidence in that product,” said Nelson.
He says every product has to be consistent like when a patient is prescribed pills.
Cresco is planning to hire about 100 employees at the Yellow Springs facility. Village council president Brian Housh is hopeful about the economic impact.
“I know what some people are associating with Yellow Springs. For us, it’s appealing the whole medical marijuana story and what it can do for patients,” said Housh, who has been council president for nearly a year.
Medical marijuana patients in the state will have to register with the State Board of Pharmacy. A patient or caregiver registration will be valid from the date of issuance and expire one year later, on the last day of the month it was issued. If the patient is diagnosed as terminally ill, the patient’s registration will expire after six months.
Certified physicians may recommend medical marijuana only for the treatment of a qualifying medical condition.
Under Ohio law, all of the following are qualifying medical conditions:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
- Crohn’s disease
- Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
- Hepatitis C
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable
- Parkinson’s disease
- Positive status for HIV
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Sickle cell anemia
- Spinal cord disease or injury
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Ulcerative colitis
2 NEWS reporter Maytal Levi asked Housh, “What would you say to people in surrounding areas who are skeptical about this coming to Yellow Springs?”. He replied, ” We did our job of vetting it across the board with our community, various stakeholders and we’re really excited to have Cresco come to town.”
So, how is it regulated? In Illinois, the Department of Agriculture conducts weekly inspections and state law enforcement conducts inspections bi-weekly. The Illinois Department of Agriculture inspection check-list is 7 pages long.
“It’s a constantly monitored, surveilled environment,” said Bachtell.
Every employee must pass a federal, state and internal Cresco background check.
“We constantly work with regulators to make sure none of our products are getting into the wrong hands,” said Nelson.
Levi asked, “The DEA could really come knocking down these doors at any moment. Is that something Ohio residents should be aware of?”. Nelson replied, “I would have the utmost confidence that what we do here in Illinois and ultimately Ohio would stand up to federal scrutiny.”
Cresco Labs also applied for two other licenses, dispensary and processing. The state is expected to award 40 processing licenses and 60 dispensary licenses sometime in the Spring.