September 28, 2018: An hour outside of Columbus, nestled between corn and dairy farms, lies Grow Ohio. It’s a 60,000 square foot greenhouse designed to supply a growing need for medical marijuana. The plant is the first to be licensed as a Level 1 processing plant.
Inside, there are quadrants of rooms designed to grow the plans from seedlings to adult flowers. Only female plants will grow here because that’s where the medical marijuana is produced. These tiny marijuana seedlings hold the promise of helping Ohioans find the medical relief they want without having to use pharmaceutical drugs. “I’ve never said this will be a panacea for all health problems but what we can do to curb the opioid epidemic,” says Josh Febus Sales Representative for Grow Ohio.
At a cost of $20 million, this processing plant is projected to grow 16-thousand pounds of medical grade marijuana a year. The facility is designed to mimic the most ideal growing conditions using a bank of 1,000-watt high-pressure sodium lights. This processing plant is more than a large greenhouse, it’s highly secured with cameras everywhere and the state can tap into them anytime they want to make sure the company is following the rules..
Grow Ohio says it’s not discouraged by the state’s inability to get its medical marijuana program off the ground. Two years after medical marijuana became legal in the state, it’s still not for sale. “We want to get it right for the patients it does you no good to speed up for a bureaucratic timeline”, says Febus.
So when will medical marijuana make into the hands of Ohioans? Experts say sometime next year. Of the 26 businesses selected to grow cannabis in Ohio, just four have passed inspections to begin planting seeds.
Certified physicians may recommend medical marijuana only for the treatment of a qualifying medical condition. Under Ohio law, all of the following are qualifying medical conditions: AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, Parkinson’s disease, positive status for HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis.