Local medical marijuana cultivation applicant promises to help Valley fight hunger

Ohio’s new medical marijuana program is expected to be fully operational by September 2018

(Nexstar Media)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – An Ohio-based company that applied for one of the state’s licenses to grow medical marijuana is making big promises if it receives a license.

Quest Wellness Ohio LLC said in its application that it would add a separate greenhouse to its facility to grow produce year-round and donate at least 10 percent of it to the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley.

Herb Washington is a principal and general manager of Quest Wellness. He attended the May 15, 2017 Youngstown City Council meeting where companies introduced their plans for growing medical marijuana in the area.

He is also known for owning multiple McDonald’s franchises in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In a press release, he commented on the company’s commitment to the local community.

“We think we can make a difference in the battle against hunger while demonstrating that we are here to bring value to the community, not only through jobs and economic development, but by working to make the Mahoning Valley a better place to live,” he said.

According to the same press release, Quest Wellness’ plan is to construct a 6,600 square foot commercial greenhouse that, through the company’s unique cultivation process, would allow for five harvests per year.

As an example of how much this could help the Food Bank, the greenhouse could produce more than 155,000 pounds of tomatoes each year. Because at least 10 percent will go to the Food Bank, that could mean more than 15,000 pounds of tomatoes would be donated each year.

Donations are not the company’s only promise, though. It has also pledged in its application to implement a minority hiring and training program, and to support research at a major state university into marijuana as a potential source of insight into human biology and drug design.

The state is expected to award 12 large cultivation licenses — authorized under Ohio’s new medical marijuana program — in November. The program is expected to be fully operational by Sept. 2018.

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