PAINESVILLE, Ohio — City Council will consider a bill Monday to sell municipally owned land for medical marijuana cultivation, conditional on the state’s licensing the operation.
GrowthOrchard, a new business based in Willoughby, would get an option to buy 5.84 vacant acres on Renaissance Business Parkway for $262,800 if the license comes through. Partner Craig Rowe expects GrowthOrchard to raise a building of about 50,000 square feet, employ 30 workers to start with and pay them about $1.5 million a year.
Rowe said that he and his business partners all have relatives with conditions suitable for medical marijuana. “Studies have shown its effectiveness,” he said.
Cathy Bieterman, Painesville’s economic development director, says residents have spoken in support of the proposal. She said there’s no need to worry about marijuana falling into wrong hands. “I’m amazed by the amount of state scrutiny for security and environmental concerns.”
Among other measures, the state will require air emission filters and round-the-clock cameras inside and outside. The cultivation sites will not make retail sales.
Ohio voters have legalized medical marijuana cultivation, and the state plans to issue the first licenses in September. It will license 12 large cultivation facilities and 12 small ones. GrowthOrchard’s operation would be considered large.
GrowthOrchard had looked at sites in Chardon and elsewhere before settling on Painesville’s Renaissance, owned by the city. The cultivators have chosen the first lot on the north side entering the park.
Other Renaissance businesses include PCC Airfoils and Cintas, with Mar-Bal moving in. The park is near Ohio 2 and Ohio 44.
Rowe and business partners John Sikora and Bruno Frate are all from Lake County. Rowe expects plenty of competition for licenses. Among his rivals is Big Game Capital of Chagrin Falls, which has a $300,000 option with the city of Eastlake for