Medical Marijuana Project Moves On From Chardon

A company proposing a medical marijuana facility in Chardon is steering away from the city.

Mayor Nancy McArthur reported at the March 9 City Council meeting that Willoughby-based GrowthOrchard is pursuing a larger facility than originally intended.

Last month, business representative John Sikora presented plans for a 25,000-square-foot marijuana cultivation and processing center at 124 Parker Court southwest of Walmart Supercenter. The property is owned by a GrowthOrchard advisory board member.

In a subsequent conversation, Sikora indicated that the company is considering constructing a much larger building.

“He told me it would most likely be a minimum of 75,000 square feet,” McArthur said. “Potentially eventually being up to 100,000 to 150,000 square feet. The spot that they were looking at in Chardon would not accommodate a building of that size, so as a result, they will no longer be considering Chardon.”

GrowthOrchard is eyeing sites in three other communities, including a 5.8-acre parcel in Painesville’s Renaissance Park.

Such facilities need to be up and running by September 2018 to meet state law requirements.

These establishments were legalized with passage of House Bill 523 in September. The law provides for medical marijuana treatment of 25 severe conditions, such as cancer, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Crohn’s, colitis and epilepsy in children.

McArthur said the city wouldn’t have been able to meet the timeline required for the facility.

“They said they needed a vote of approval from Planning Commission and City Council by early April,” she said. “We couldn’t meet that deadline or guarantee the vote they sought.”

Chardon officials are working toward legislation that would prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries in the city.

“Right now, the state really hasn’t even come up with any guidelines or anything, so we don’t really know what they’re planning on doing just yet,” McArthur said.

The state regulations for cultivation will be adopted by May 6, according to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.

Sikora has said that his company isn’t interested in operating a dispensary.

“We don’t want to be on the retail side of this,” he said Feb. 22. “What we’re looking at is simply growing and processing — that’s it.”

The facility is anticipated to eventually employ up to 40 people with pay ranging from $15 to $30 an hour.

A medical marijuana cultivating facility is proposed by Buckeye Relief in Eastlake, on the property of the former JFK Community Center, 33505 Curtis Blvd.

Mentor and Kirtland leaders have passed laws prohibiting cultivation, processing and/or retail dispensing of medical marijuana in their communities.

Painesville was considering a moratorium, but rejected the legislation Feb. 21.

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