Medical marijuana business a ‘natural fit’ for Yellow Springs

Many communities across the state are looking to keep medical marijuana businesses out of their backyards, but leaders in at least one local community are seeing the new Ohio law as an opportunity for job growth and new tax revenues.

Yellow Springs voted unanimously this week to approve the sale of 8 acres to Cresco Labs LLC, an Illinois-based marijuana cultivation and processing company.

“In talking with Cresco and finding out about their approach and their operation, it just seemed like a natural fit,” Village Council President Karen Wintrow said. “They’re in the wellness business, and that fits with Yellow Springs. The community values wellness.”

RELATED: New rules set for medical marijuana use in Ohio

Many cities in the region approved moratoriums on any marijuana-related businesses.

Cresco would be the first tenant on approximately 40 acres that Yellow Springs has set aside for development. The nearest neighbors are a university and a church — Antioch University Midwest and Assembly of God Christian Center. Yellow Springs High School is across the road.

The site could become one of 24 in Ohio that lawmakers approve for medical marijuana cultivation. Wintrow told council members for the application to the state to be well-received, the community needs to support it.

Wintrow said the village is selling the property at $20,000 per acre, and Cresco’s plans are to build a $6 million facility to grow marijuana in up to 25,000 square feet of space. That’s the largest of two tiers of cultivators that state lawmakers have approved.

Related: Medical marijuana patients would pay $50 a year for a registration card

Village leaders hope the business, when fully operational, would create 60 new jobs at an average salary of $40,000. That’s about a $2.5 million annual payroll, which would generate about $37,000 in income tax revenue for the village and partially for the school district.

That’s not counting the property tax revenue, an estimated $90,000 of which would go to Yellow Springs Schools every year.

While the potential land sale goes through a legal review process, Cresco Labs must prepare to apply for the Tier 1 cultivator license. The state will start accepting applications for that on June 16.

RELATED: Land slated for marijuana cultivation sells at double its value

The Ohio Department of Commerce began accepting applications Monday for the smaller cultivator operation licenses.

The window for submitting those applications ends June 16, at which date the larger cultivators can apply for licenses until June 30, according to Kerry Francis, Ohio Department of Commerce director of communications.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy and the State Medical Board of Ohio will also be involved with licensing and regulation of the dispensaries, testing laboratories and processors.

RELATED: Village votes to approve business park funding

Businesses are considering two potential growing sites in Warren County.

By the numbers

June 16, 30: Filing deadlines for level 2 and level 1 cultivators

25,000: Square feet for level 1 cultivation

3,000: Square feet for level 2 cultivation

24: The total number of cultivator licenses to be issued, 12 for each of the two levels

$200,000: Annual cost for level 1 licenses

$20,000: Annual cost for level 2 license

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