One of the Dayton area’s largest medical marijuana cultivators is due for its first state inspection next month, and the first products produced by it could be available to patients in Ohio by October.
Cresco Labs is in the final stages of construction of its Level I facility in Yellow Springs, where marijuana plants will be grown, harvested and processed into medicine.
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Cresco was the first marijuana processor in Ohio to break ground when it did so in December 2017. The facility sits next to Antioch University Midwest along East Dayton-Yellow Springs Road. In addition to the grow warehouse, the company has built a processing plant at the site and has a processing application pending approval with the state.
The freeze and thaw cycle this winter created “a lot of mud,” which pushed back completion of the building, said Cresco Labs CEO and co-founder Charlie Bachtell.
Bachtell said he was not surprised by the announcement that medical marijuana would not be available to Ohioans by the original Sept. 8 deadline.
“In my experience, having done this in Illinois and Pennsylvania, launching programs from scratch, to have product available in the hands of patients within nine months of cultivation licenses being awarded … that would be a very tight time frame,” he said. “Operators aren’t quite ready yet … At the end of the day, I think maybe there was a slight misunderstanding of what that date was intended to mean.”
State officials said the Sept. 8 date was set for the medical marijuana program to be operational.
Cresco’s facility features a 23,294-square-foot, state-of-the-art steel greenhouse that is separate from the 26,445-square-foot area where the marijuana will be processed. The plants will be grown in secure, climate-controlled environments using 85 percent renewable energy, according to Cresco.
Ten of the 25 approved grow sites in Ohio are scheduled for inspection. Locally, Pure Ohio Wellness LLC, at 4020 Dayton-Springfield Road in Mad River Twp., was due for inspection in May, and Ohio Clean Leaf LLC, at 2046 Valley Street in Dayton, is due for inspection this month, according to state records.
The Ohio Department of Commerce’s compliance team will perform the inspections, according to Stephanie Gostomski, ODOC spokesperson.
“On average, an inspection can take anywhere from four to six hours with a full team present,” she said.
Cultivators will need to meet a long list of regulations, including cleanliness, utilizing approved chemicals and having different aspects of the operation in separate areas of the facility, according to the state’s inspection form.
If approved, Bachtell said the plants will need 90 to 100 days to grow before they can be harvested. The greenhouse can be controlled to allow long hours of light or complete darkness to maximize efficiency. After harvest, cannabis oil is extracted from the plants, and different medicinal products can be made. Bachtell said a third party lab is also involved in testing the products for purity.
Cresco will process cannabis oil products. The various products that Cresco will make include oral sprays, tablets and patches.
If Cresco passes inspection and is issued a processing license, the first plants ready for harvest will come in October, Bachtell said.
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