Chamber hears marijuana grow facility proposal

By Sarah Hawley

John Haseley

John Haseley

POMEROY — Friday morning’s Chamber Chatter allowed for local business representatives to hear about the application to be filed for a proposed marijuana grow facility in the Racine area.

John Haseley, a consultant working with Ohio Therapeutics LLC, told the group of approximately 15 people about the application process and the proposed facility. He then opened the floor for questions from those in attendance.

The facility being proposed in the application would sit on land which is being developed near the Yellow Bush Road area of Racine. Ohio Therapeutics would initially place and option on 10 acres of land in the area where a new road has been recently constructed, with an additional option of 10 acres available. The land is not currently part of the village of Racine, but annexation has been in the works for some time, prior to this proposal, said Haseley.

Racine Village Council, the Sutton Twp. Trustees and the Meigs County Bar Association have already expressed their support for the application which is to be filed on June 27.

The amount of regulation placed on the facility and the level of security to be put in place helped to put some of the concerns to rest regarding the facility.

Haseley estimated that there could be hundreds of groups, organizations or individuals who have an interest in filing an application for the 12 Level 1 grow facilities to be constructed in the state, but that some may drop out before the applications are filed. This is due to the $20,000 application fee which is non-refundable, as well as the 60-plus page application.

Haseley explained that a proposed 25,000 square foot greenhouse facility would employ 40 to 50 full-time employees with full benefits and average starting salary of $15 per hour. It could potentially employ more than 100 full-time staff and grow to 75,000 square foot of space depending on demand.

While the cannabis would be grown at the facility, it would be shipped to another facility for processing and later sold at a state licensed pharmacy through a doctor’s prescription.

The application for the proposed facility must be filed with the state by June 30, with an answer anticipated by mid-September. Should it be approved, construction and production would be expected within a year.

Haseley stated that the legislation passed by the state is some of the most restrictive and highly regulated in order to ensure that that door is not opened to recreational use. The medical use marijuana is not allowed to be smoked, but as a topical or ingested.

Haseley stated that the CEO of Ohio Therapeutics has numerous years of experience with similar grow operations, having run facilities in California and Colorado.

Much of the sentiment of the group at the Chamber Chatter was that these facilities are going to be built in the state and why should Meigs County not be part of that.

“Our part of the state should not be overlooked in this process,” added Haseley.

Community support, as well as the potential economic impact are two of the things that could set the Meigs County application apart from others.

The commissioners are set to consider a resolution of support during Thursday’s meeting.

John Haseley Haseley

By Sarah Hawley