COLUMBUS, Ohio — The tiny village of Mount Orab and the city of Akron are among diverse locations of the 12 large growers Ohio picked Thursday to participate in its medical marijuana program.
In announcing the large cultivators and a final small grower, the state rounded out the list of 24 companies authorized to produce medicinal crops under a new system expected to go live by September. Ohio is the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana.
Large growers paid $20,000 to apply to operate sites up to 25,000 square feet. Initial license fees were $180,000 and renewals will cost $200,000 annually.
Spokeswoman Stephanie Gostomski said all of the sites will be indoor, high-security, regulated businesses • not outdoor farms or even the type of traditional greenhouses that Ohioans might envision.
“As you drive by, you won’t necessarily know these are grow facilities,” she said.
The companies have nine months to get their businesses operational, and a state team must visit their facilities before they get a certificate that allows them to grow, she said.
Some local governments have instituted moratoriums on growing or dispensing medical marijuana, but the department isn’t aware of any such conflicts with the locations for the selected smaller growers. One of the businesses, Harvest Grows LLC, submitted applications for two locations • one in Hamilton Township in Lawrence County, and one in Cleveland. It will have 10 days to pick between the two.
Ohio’s medical marijuana law, passed last year, allows people with medical conditions such as cancer and epilepsy to buy and use marijuana if a doctor recommends it. It doesn’t allow smoking.
The state has offered the maximum number of licenses that it was allowed.
Ohio accepted 185 total applications, which are evaluated based on their plans for business, operations, quality assurance, security and finances.
Among those selected Thursday, the top-scoring applicant was Buckeye Relief LLC, of Eastlake in Lake County.