CINCINNATI – A year from now, Cincinnati investor James Gould hopes to be meandering through lush green rows of what he’s betting will be Ohio’s next cash crop: medical marijuana.
Gould is among dozens of budding entrepreneurs hustling to be among the few that will win the right to make a legit business out of growing medical cannabis — a drug made legal in Ohio last year.
“We are literally building a new industry here and it’s creating some very interesting opportunities for people,” said Gould, chairman of Green Light Acquisitions, a holding firm for marijuana-related ventures.
If all goes as planned, Gould and his partners want to create a nearly 20-acre medical marijuana campus in Wilmington, Ohio that will house indoor growing space, a manufacturing facility and a research center.
Marijuana plants inside the grow site for Nature’s Herbs & Wellness Center in Garden City, Colorado.
“We’ve been across the entire U.S., doing our homework,” said Gould, who led the failed Issue 3 effort to legalize recreational and medical marijuana in 2015. “We’ve come up with a plan that I think will really capture the integrity of what this industry can represent.”
By June, Ohio expects to finalize the rules for those hoping to apply for one of 24 cultivation licenses expected to be issued across the state. Once the applications are released, investors will get 45 to 60 days to meet submission deadlines.
Hundreds of millions of dollars of hang in the balance as investors wait for the green light to apply.
Groups like Gould’s have amassed commitments in excess of $40 million to launch their Wilmington campus. In other parts of the state, small business owners are considering tapping into their life savings for a chance to be a pot farmer.