First Ohio medical marijuana grow site gets OK to start; Central State to be test lab

FN Group Holdings, LLC, got the green light from the state of Ohio to begin growing medical marijuana at its facility in Portage County — the first cultivator to win an operations certificate.

State regulators also announced that it issued provisional licenses to Central State University and Hocking Technical College to set up medical marijuana testing labs. Central State and Hocking Technical were the only public institutions to apply for testing lab licenses.

Related: Central State wants marijuana lab license

FN Group Holdings, doing business as Wellspring Fields in Ravenna, will be allowed to cultivate up to 3,000-square-feet, starting immediately, said Stephanie Gostomski, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Commerce, which is one of three state agencies with oversight responsibilities.

The action on Friday means seeds can be planted immediately. Growing marijuana from seed to mature plant can take three to five months.

FN Group Holdings is one of a dozen companies that won level two cultivator licenses. Thirteen entities won level one licenses.

Gostomski said 14 of the 25 cultivators with provisional licenses have scheduled inspections, including seven coming up in July.

“We are moving forward. There are a lot of moving parts in the program,” she said. The goal is to have safe, regulated medical marijuana on dispensary shelves for qualifying patients, she said.

State law adopted in June 2016 requires that Ohio’s medical marijuana program be fully operational by September 8 but regulators announced a month ago that the deadline likely would be missed. Growers that received provisional licenses in November had been delayed by weather, construction and other business issues.

Related: Patients won’t be able to get medical marijuana by Ohio deadline

The law authorizes medical marijuana use by patients with 21 conditions, including cancer or chronic pain, in the form of edibles, oils, patches and vaporizing. Patients and their caregivers will be allowed to possess up to a 90 day supply. Smoking or home growing it is barred.

The state announced 56 marijuana dispensary licenses on June 4 and so far the State Medical Board of Ohio has cleared 139 physicians to recommend marijuana.

Related: Is your doctor state-certified to recommend pot?

The next announcement will be which applicants receive processor licenses.

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