PAINESVILLE, Ohio — Growth Orchard, a prospective marijuana cultivator, is looking at possible sites in Painesville, Chardon and other local communities for making medical marijuana.
Partners discussed the Willoughby business’s plans Wednesday night both with Painesville and Chardon’s city councils. Partner John Sikora said Growth Orchard also is considering sites in other local communities but would not disclose them.
He hopes to choose a site in March and submit a proposal soon to the state. The state plans in September to license three big cultivation sites and three small ones in each of the state’s quadrants.
Sikora said he and partner Craig Rowe are from Mentor and partner Bruno Frate is from Willoughby. “We’re local boys trying to do something good for the community,” Sikora said.
Medical marijuana is prescribed for pain and nausea in patients with cancer, colitis and other severe illnesses.
Growth Orchard wants to raise a building of 25,000 to 30,000 square feet with potential to be expanded to 75,000. The business would hire at least 30 people paid about $1.5 million per year.
Painesville City Manager Monica Irelan said she would welcome that payroll. “Painesville’s always interested in business opportunities that bring employment and income tax revenue,” she said.
Chardon Mayor Nancy McArthur said, “We’re always happy for businesses to come here for the revenue, but there are still a lot of unknowns.”
The factory would not have retail customers.
The state will require plenty of security measures at cultivation sites, including a fence, good sightlines and live camera feeds around the clock inside and outside the building. It will also require treatment of waste and emissions, the latter with carbon scrubbers.
Said Irelan, “There will be no fumes for people to be sniffing.”
Neither city council took action Wednesday on Growth Orchard’s plans. Painesville unanimously