One of the largest medical marijuana companies in the U.S. officially opened its new large-scale growing operation in Yellow Springs on Monday.
Yellow Springs village council member Brian Housh called the facility a perfect match for the emerging pot industry and a town long known as a counter-culture haven.
Cresco Labs broke ground on the 50,000-square-foot facility last year and planted its first seeds last month. The company operates in six states and offers medical marijuana products, including flower, edibles, vape pens and cartridges, and extracts.
At Monday’s ribbon cutting ceremony, Cresco CEO Charlie Bachtell touted the industry that research shows can help put a dent in opioid abuse.
“This is a program that has been a long time coming. And relief is right around the corner. Now that we’re operation, plants are in the ground, you’ll see that there’s a definitive timeline,” Bachtell said.
Cresco’s timeline calls for workers to start harvesting marijuana buds and sending them off to inspectors and dispensaries around January 1.
The exact date on the availability of medical pot has been a hot topic of debate for the last two years. HB 523, approved by Ohio lawmakers in September 2016, gave the state two years to establish a medical marijuana program. Despite no pot being on dispensary shelves by September 2018, leaders of the Ohio Department of Commerce say they technically met the deadline by having systems in place. Now, state officials say some products should be available by the end of the year.
HB 523 delegated dispensary regulations to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, while the Ohio Medical Board is charged with overseeing enrollment of physicians in the program. The Department of Commerce oversees cultivation, processing and testing of medical marijuana.
Earlier this year, Ohio licensed 56 locations to sell medical marijuana, including five in Franklin County. Even though no marijuana is for sale yet, some Ohio doctors have already started recommending it.
Ohio is among 30 states that now have some form of legalized marijuana.