5 companies to present medical marijuana plans to Youngstown leaders

The companies will be presenting their plans to Youngstown City Council on Monday

The Ohio Department of Commerce announced Friday that medical marijuana growers can start applying for Ohio licenses as early as June. The application and the license both come at a hefty price -- but a Boardman native believes it's a business venture worth exploring.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Five companies interested in bringing medical marijuana operations to Youngstown will be presenting their plans to Youngstown City Council on Monday.

The presentations will be Monday, May 15, 2017, starting at 4:30 p.m. in the council caucus room on the sixth floor of Youngstown City Hall.

The following companies will be presenting:

Mahoning Valley Agriculture is represented by Attorney David Betras, with the senior advisor being Sanjay Bawan of Los Angeles. The company is backed by three out-of-town investors. It plans to apply for a Tier I license, which allows for growing operations between 25,000 and 75,000 square feet. Mahoning Valley Agriculture plans to also seek a processing permit but has no plans to operate retail dispensaries.

Riviera Creek is being backed by Brian and Daniel Kessler, an uncle and nephew with Boardman ties. Brian Kessler, a 1976 Boardman High graduate, operates the Los Angeles-based SBL Venture Capital. He’s been involved with marijuana operations in Nevada, Connecticut and California. Riviera Creek plans to apply for a Tier I license and also plans to apply for licenses to process and dispense medical marijuana.

Silver Rapids is based on Victoria Road in Austintown and is operated by Victor Masters of Canfield. Silver Rapids plan to apply for a Tier II permit, which allows for growing operations of between 3,000 and 6,000 square feet. Masters says there are people working with him who have experience in growing marijuana. Victor Masters has deep roots in the Youngstown area. He’s related to the late Charles Diebel, who owned Idora Park for many years.

WKBN was unable to contact a representative of Ohio Grown Medicine, but Les Hollis was the company representative provided by Youngstown’s Economic Development Department. An internet search does show there is a Les Hollis that is President and CEO of Illinois Grown Medicine listed as “the ONLY minority owned, locally based, Chicago firm that provides medical cannabis dispensary services regulated under the Illinois Compassionate use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program.”

According to information from Youngstown’s Economic Development Department, Fasttrack Group is operated by Herb and Terrell Washington. Herb Washington is the owner of several McDonald’s restaurants around Youngstown. Terrell is Herb’s son. Calls to the Washingtons have not been returned.


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