Commission recommends medical marijuana facility be approved


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By DAVID SKOLNICK

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

The planning commission recommended city council approve a waiver to allow a medical marijuana cultivation facility to open.

The commission voted 4-0 Tuesday in favor of Riviera Creek Holding LLC – operated by Daniel Kessler and his uncle, Brian Kessler – which plans to have construction work at its 1275 Crescent St. location done by August and harvest its first crop of medical marijuana by September.

City council still needs to approve the waiver. But construction work is ongoing, Daniel Kessler said.

“It’s an existing building so it won’t be a major construction project,” he said.

The company plans an investment of $10 million to $15 million over a period of about three to five years with 181 to 319 jobs when its fully operating, Kessler said. It will start with 25 workers, he said.

The company’s location used to house Maui Toys Inc until it closed about 18 months ago, Kessler said.

Riviera was awarded one of 12 Level 1 large growing licenses Nov. 30, 2017, by the Ohio Department of Commerce for up to 25,000 square feet of growing space. The large growers can apply to expand up to 75,000 square feet.

“It will be grown in a very secure environment,” Kessler said. “We’re going to be putting in a technologically-advanced cultivation system.”

Large growers paid $20,000 to apply to operate sites. They’ll pay $180,000 in initial licensing fees and $200,000 a year thereafter.

Medical marijuana will be made available to purchase by those with 21 different medical conditions, and can only be obtained from a state-licensed dispensary with a doctor’s prescription. State law does not allow marijuana to be sold to be smoked. It can be sold in the forms of oils, patches, topical lotions and edibles.

Marijuana is supposed to be available to patients by Sept. 8. But dispensary licenses have yet to be awarded by the state. There have been concerns expressed by some involved in the process, according to The Columbus Dispatch, that the deadline may not be met.

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