Ohio Marijuana News

An entrepreneur and a progressive village council have Johnstown poised to reap the economic benefits of medical marijuana.

Jeff Long

On Aug. 12, 1926, a one-eyed tenant farmer with a dead pig and a shovel put Johnstown on the map. Jim Bailey, “who lost an eye years ago,” according to the Johnstown Independent, was having a bad day, digging a hole in a “quaking bog, which was recently drained” on Friend Butt’s land to bury a sow that had drowned in a watering hole the night before. A few feet down in the black muck, “his spade struck something hard and he soon discovered what proved to be the remains of a great discovery.” His one good eye “bulged out enough for a pair.”

An expert called in from Columbus pronounced the great discovery to be the skeleton of a mastodon. It was not just any skeleton: It was one of the most complete such specimens ever found. The expert estimated the creature’s age at about 30,000 years, but the Johnstown Independent was skeptical: “How he or anyone else knows that it has been so long since this monster roamed and reigned we leave it for the reader to determine, but in our conservative way we will say this big boy has been dead a long time.”

A historical marker at the village border promotes the mastodon as the town’s claim to fame. A few days after the news of the great beast’s discovery spread, 10,000 people paid 25 cents a head to trample on Butt’s farm and gaze in awe. From the Aug. 19, 1926, Johnstown Independent:

“C.A. Benedict, the photographer, sold on Sunday 2,000 pictures at 10 cents each to the visitors and could have sold more. A dozen people were unable to serve the crowd at a

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ALAN FROMAN THISWEEKNEWS.COM @ThisWeekAfroman

Grandview Heights City Council member Steve Reynolds has drafted legislation that would open up a sliver of the city to potential medical-marijuana dispensaries.

However, the state’s deadlines could mean the discussion is moot, at least for the time being.

Reynolds said he drafted the pair of ordinances to allow council to “hit the ground running” on its discussion of the issue in the new year.

Council will have one new member in 2018: Melanie Houston, who won election in November. Councilman Steve Papineau did not run for re-election.

Reynolds presented his proposed legislation at council’s Dec. 4 meeting and said he plans to formally introduce the ordinances at the first meeting of 2018, scheduled for Jan. 2.

On Dec. 4, council unanimously voted to extend the city’s moratorium on retail dispensaries for an additional month. The moratorium was set to expire Dec. 5.

Last month, council approved a ban on medical-marijuana cultivation and processing operations in the city, but did not reach consensus on whether dispensaries also should be prohibited.

Reynolds said his first proposed ordinance would be “very similar” to the original measure council adopted to ban cultivation and processing operations.

It would prohibit retail dispensaries as an allowable activity in certain permitted uses in zoning districts in the city.

The second ordinance would “carve out” a small portion of Grandview zoned M-1 light industrial as a potential area where dispensaries could be allowed.

“Essentially, we’d be talking about a small area that’s south of Goodale and more or less east of Oxley Road,” Reynolds said.

The area would meet the restrictions set by Ohio Revised Code that require medical-marijuana dispensaries to be at least 500 feet from a school, park or playground, he said.

If council chose to adopt only the first ordinance, it

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A ceremonial groundbreaking is set to happen Thursday on one of two medical marijuana cultivation facilities to be built in the Miami Valley.

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Cresco Labs Ohio LLC and officials with the village of Yellow Springs will be on hand at the site off East Enon Road near Antioch University, where a 23,294-square-foot steel greenhouse and a 26,445-square-foot processing facility will be built.

The “environmentally sound greenhouse will be built for cultivating and harvesting condition-specific strains of medical marijuana and produce non-invasive medical products for qualified patients,” according to a release from Cresco Labs, which has similar facilities in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico.

RELATED >>> Springfield, Yellow Springs to get large marijuana growing operations

“With licenses announced just two weeks ago, Cresco Labs is the first to break ground and start construction on their Yellow Springs medical marijuana cultivation facility,” according to the release. “Cresco’s brand name products will be available at dispensaries across Ohio to patients that have been physician-certified with any of the 22 approved medical conditions. All growing will take place in secure, climate-controlled environments that utilize nearly 85% renewable energy.”

RELATED >>> Yellow Springs moves ahead with medical marijuana planning

Cresco’s cannabis oil products include pharmaceutical-grad oral sprays, sublingual digestible tablets and transdermal patches.

Cresco has also applied to the state for a dispensary license and is expected to apply for a processing license.

A medical marijuana cultivation facility is also approved in Clark County. Pure Ohio Wellness plans to renovate an existing building at 4020 Dayton-Springfield Road in Mad River Twp., outside of Springfield.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohioans could vote to legalize recreational marijuana and industrial hemp production as soon as next year through a measure backed by companies that didn’t get one of the state’s medical marijuana grow licenses.

Jimmy Gould and Ian James, co-founders of Ohio’s 2015 failed recreational marijuana legalization measure, are now proposing a “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Amendment.” Gould and James also unsuccessfully bid for one of the state’s 12 large medical marijuana cultivator licenses.

Gould said Monday that state regulators in the Ohio Department of Commerce bungled the license application process and he doesn’t trust them to get things right moving forward.

There’s no amendment yet, but Gould outlined a proposal during a press conference here Monday. James said a draft amendment is planned for January.

The proposal calls for recreational marijuana production and sales to follow a structure similar to how Ohio regulates liquor and would allow people age 21 and older to grow four marijuana plants per household in areas not publicly visible.

The measure would keep Ohio’s heavily regulated medical marijuana control program in place.

“This is not a reborn Issue 3,” Gould said. “There’s no control here by anybody — this is free market.”

Other highlights of the proposal:

Ohio farmers could cultivate hemp. Cities, villages and townships could approve the number of marijuana businesses allowed to operate in their community. Voters would decide by ballot whether to allow a dispensary in their precinct, like liquor licenses. Smoking marijuana or consuming marijuana products would remain prohibited in public places or on any form of public transportation.

Gould and supporters would have to collect at least 305,591 signatures of registered Ohio voters by July 2018 to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.

ResponsibleOhio spent more than $20 million on its unsuccessful 2015 campaign. Gould said he and other losing

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KEVIN PARKS THISWEEKNEWS.COM @KevinParksTW1

Five applicants have filed paperwork in a quest to be awarded a medical-marijuana-dispensary license in northwest Columbus, according to Anthony J. Celebrezze III, assistant director of the Columbus Department of Building and Zoning Services.

Celebrezze said at the Dec. 6 meeting of the Northwest Civic Association that four of those applications are for the same site.

HR Plaza LLC, owner of the Hayden Run Plaza where Bethel Road becomes Hayden Road, has agreed to hold a portion of the parking lot open for a potential dispensary from four applicants, none of whom are guaranteed getting one of the potentially five licenses allotted for Franklin County, Celebrezze told the board of trustees.

The other potential dispensary site in the neighborhood is at the intersection of Kenny and Old Henderson roads, according to Celebrezze.

“We could have none, but the maximum is two?” asked Marilyn Goodman, chairwoman of the NWCA’s graphics and zoning committee.

Celebrezze confirmed Goodman’s assumption.

“Basically what you’re saying is one of these dispensaries couldn’t go into a strip mall?” asked John Fortkamp, an NWCA trustee.

Celebrezze, however, said medical-marijuana dispensaries can operate in any location with the proper zoning, including strip shopping centers, as long as a secure room can be created inside.

As of last week, city officials had received 89 requests for applications to open medical-marijuana dispensaries and 69 of them had been completed and submitted, Celebrezze said.

“We can have up to five (dispensaries in Columbus),” Celebrezze said. “We may not get five. I don’t know.”

The timing of granting licenses also is up in the air, he said.

“The state hasn’t given us any indication on when they’re going to do that,” Celebrezze said. “It could be four or five months until we see anything.”

The lone role for city

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Updated 4:56 pm, Monday, December 11, 2017 Jimmy Gould, CEO of CannAscend, announces a push to place a new Ohio marijuana legalization effort on the ballot, on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. The 2018 "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol" amendment would make growing, processing, possessing, selling and using marijuana legal, and legalize the growing of hemp. Gould was not granted a grower's license for the state's medical marijuana program last month and has been critical of the state Commerce Department's handling of the process. Photo: Andrew Welsh-Huggins, AP / AP Jimmy Gould, CEO of CannAscend, announces a push to place a new Ohio marijuana legalization effort on the ballot, on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. The 2018 "Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol" amendment would make growing, processing, possessing, selling and using marijuana legal, and legalize the growing of hemp. Gould was not granted a grower's license for the state's medical marijuana program last month and has been critical of the state Commerce Department's handling of the process.

Photo: Andrew Welsh-Huggins, AP

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Jimmy Gould, CEO of CannAscend, announces a push to place a new Ohio marijuana legalization effort on the ballot, on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. The 2018 “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol” amendment would make growing, processing, possessing, selling and using marijuana legal, and legalize the growing of hemp. Gould was not granted a grower’s license for the state’s medical marijuana program last month and has been critical of the state Commerce Department’s handling of the process.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A consultant hired to score medical marijuana license applications worked for businesses owned by a company awarded one of the state’s 12 large marijuana grow licenses. 

Keoki Wing, chief financial officer for Arizona-based firm Meade & Wing, LLC, worked for Nature Med Inc. and AOW Management, until July 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile. The two medical marijuana businesses are or were owned by the president and CEO of Arizona-based Harvest Grows, LLC, which was the 12th business awarded an Ohio “level I” cultivation license late last month. 

Wing’s time working for the businesses overlapped with his work as a consultant at Meade & Wing, according to his profile. 

Meade & Wing principal Jason Meade wrote in its application for the consulting contract that the firm helped a troubled grower and dispensary in Marana, Arizona, as evidence it met the department’s requirements for scoring consultants. Nature Med was the only grower and dispensary registered in Marana at the time, according to Arizona records. 

The Ohio Department of Commerce, which oversees the growing, processing and testing parts of Ohio’s medical marijuana program, said earlier this year it had a process for vetting conflicts of interest between consultants and applicants.

A department spokeswoman did not answer questions Monday about that process or whether the department knew of Meade & Wing’s ties to Harvest Grows. 

The department hired Meade & Wing and two other consultants earlier this year to assist in scoring license applications. Each would be paid up to $150,000 for its services. 

Meade & Wing has been paid $43,971 from the department this year, according to state expenditure records. 

The department said last week it did not know another consultant, Trevor Bozeman of iCann Consulting, LLC, had a felony marijuana conviction in 2005. The same offense would have

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Colorado’s largest city is reviewing the first application from a business seeking to be among the nation’s first legal marijuana clubs, more than a year after voters approved a bring-your-own pot measure.

Dan Rowland, a spokesman for the Denver department that regulates marijuana businesses, said the city received the application from a business called the Coffee Joint on Friday. The location is in a light industrial area off Interstate 25 in central Denver.

Rita Tsalyuk, one of the co-owners of the business, said she and partner Kirill Merkulov plan a $5 entry fee if they’re approved for the license. Customers could use edible pot products or vaporizing pens inside, and the shop would sell food, host events and provide free coffee or tea, she said.

Denver voters approved the clubs in a 2016 ballot measure, but it took nine months for the city to start accepting applications. Advocates have complained that state restrictions preventing pot use at any business with a liquor license and the city’s own rules unfairly limited potential locations for the clubs.

For instance, the city required clubs to be twice as far from liquor stores from schools and anywhere else children gather.

Tsalyuk, a real estate agent who moved to Denver 27 years ago from Ukraine, said her husband owns a dispensary only a few doors away from the coffee shop location. Customers buying marijuana products often ask where they’re allowed to legally use it, and employees have few answers for tourists staying in hotels that ban marijuana use, she said.

The coffee shop could be an easy solution, she said.

The partners already have the backing of the La Alma Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association, which submitted a letter of support to the city. Applicants have to show community support for their proposal as part of

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A high-profile proponent of marijuana legalization who was spurned as an applicant for a medical marijuana grower’s license announced plans on Monday for a 2018 Ohio ballot issue to legalize the sale and possession of marijuana.

The proposal from Green Light Acquisitions would make growing, processing, possessing, selling and using marijuana legal. The measure was announced by Jimmy Gould, CEO of CannAscend, whose grower’s proposal was rejected by the Ohio Department of Commerce last month.

Gould said the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol amendment will be on the ballot next fall. The amendment also would legalize the growing of hemp.

“We will put together the best amendment that we think will pass and does the most good for Ohioans,” Gould said.

Gould raised and spent millions of dollars as a backer of the unsuccessful 2015 effort to legalize marijuana in Ohio. In recent days he has criticized the Department of Commerce for hiring a consultant with a drug conviction to help select Ohio’s medical marijuana growers.

Gould said Monday the selection system was flawed by incompetence and favoritism. He suggested problems with a second consultant involved in the medical marijuana program. He also alleged someone at the Department of Commerce was looking for a job with the applicants for growers’ licenses.

A message was left with the Department of Commerce, which has rejected Gould’s criticism of the process and implied he’s a sore loser.

Gould’s criticism — picked up by some lawmakers and several candidates running for governor — focuses on the 2005 guilty plea in Pennsylvania by consultant Trevor Bozeman at age 20 to charges of manufacturing, possessing and distributing drugs. A marijuana possession charge was dropped.

Bozeman was one of three consultants Ohio selected to help grade the grower applications. The consultants worked with state employees to select the

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A high-profile proponent of marijuana legalization who was spurned as an applicant for a medical marijuana grower’s license announced plans on Monday for a 2018 Ohio ballot issue to legalize the sale and possession of marijuana.

The proposal from Green Light Acquisitions would make growing, processing, possessing, selling and using marijuana legal. The measure was announced by Jimmy Gould, CEO of CannAscend, whose grower’s proposal was rejected by the Ohio Department of Commerce last month.

Gould said the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol amendment will be on the ballot next fall. The amendment also would legalize the growing of hemp.

“We will put together the best amendment that we think will pass and does the most good for Ohioans,” Gould said.

Gould raised and spent millions of dollars as a backer of the unsuccessful 2015 effort to legalize marijuana in Ohio. In recent days he has criticized the Department of Commerce for hiring a consultant with a drug conviction to help select Ohio’s medical marijuana growers.

Gould said Monday the selection system was flawed by incompetence and favoritism. He suggested problems with a second consultant involved in the medical marijuana program. He also alleged someone at the Department of Commerce was looking for a job with the applicants for growers’ licenses.

Commerce spokeswoman Kerry Francis denied those allegations Monday. Consultants hired by the state to help score growers’ applications had limited influence on overall selections, and weren’t aware of the identity of applicants they reviewed.

She said applicants denied a grower’s license can appeal.

“We have confidence that we had a blind and impartial process,” Francis said.

Gould’s criticism — picked up by some lawmakers and several candidates running for governor — focuses on the 2005 guilty plea in Pennsylvania by consultant Trevor Bozeman at age 20 to charges of manufacturing,

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