COLUMBUS, Ohio — The last of Ohio’s 24, highly sought-after medical marijuana cultivation licenses were awarded Thursday, ending months of anticipation but leaving many applicants and industry observers with more questions about the process.
The Ohio Department of Commerce winnowed 185 applicants down to 24 winners — 12 level I licenses for up to 25,000 square feet of grow space and 12 level II licenses for up to 3,000 square feet. The department announced the 12 large growers on Thursday.
Application records released Thursday reveal some information about the companies’ owners, advisers and facility plans.
Here are five things you need to know about the large growers.
1. Most cultivator licenses were awarded in Northeast Ohio. Central Ohio has none.
Map by Rich Exner, cleveland.com
Seven of the 12 large grow license winners and six of the 12 small grow winners are located in Northeast Ohio. No sites in Central Ohio were chosen for either small or large grows.
Most applicants had out-of-state help or included out-of-state members or advisers.
Johnstown, just east of Columbus, had spent the last two years readying itself to be a hub for Ohio’s medical marijuana business. None of the five companies that applied for sites there was awarded a license.
Village Manager Jim Lenner said the outcome was disappointing because without cultivation, it’s highly unlikely the community will attract a marijuana product manufacturer or testing lab.
“Not only are we out, Central Ohio’s out,” Lenner said.
2. Some interesting names got licenses.
Cleveland businessman Andy Rayburn’s group Buckeye Relief scored the highest for its proposed Eastlake site. Developers Dominic Visconsi, Jr. and Anthoni Visconsi II and Cleveland philanthropist and Lincoln Electric board member Russ Lincoln and his son Sam are involved in the company, according to tax information cover sheets included in its application.