YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Youngstown company has been granted a medical marijuana cultivator license.
The Ohio Department of Commerce announced recipients of the Level 1 Cultivator Provisional Licenses on Thursday.
The company receiving the license is Riviera Creek Holdings, LLC.
The company was started by Daniel Kessler, a Liberty High School graduate, and his uncle, Brian. They planned to use a warehouse on Crescent Street, in what’s known as Youngstown’s Riverbend section, for their marijuana farm.
The warehouse most recently housed Maui Toys.
Level I cultivators will be permitted to operate an initial marijuana cultivation area up to 25,000 square feet.
To obtain the license, applicants were scored in several areas, including operation plans, security, quality assurance and finances.
The Kesslers have relationships with people who have experience in Connecticut and Nevada, which already have legalized marijuana programs. They were also the first to present their idea to the city. Mayor John McNally is pleased the multi-million project will happen in Youngstown.
“Ten to fifteen million dollar investment in Riverbend so we are pretty happy that this company has been selected,” McNally said.
Riviera Creek owns the building on Crescent Street and is getting bids for the next step. Before the company can plant, they must add fencing, alarm systems, cameras, double doors, and vaults.
“This facility is really a cultivation facility. They will grow it under a bunch of state regulations and state oversight,” McNally said.
The state still hasn’t picked places where the plants will be processed. The growing can’t begin until the state grants a certificate of operation, which will come after verifying that the building is totally secure.
The city and Riviera Creek expect the number of jobs to grow as the business matures. During the first year, 5,000 to 50,000 patients are expected to be serviced.
“We’ll be ready if grows beyond that,” Kessler said.
It takes 14 weeks to grow a marijuana plant the way Riviera Creek plans to do it. The company is extremely excited at the opportunity for people who are suffering from different medical conditions to receive new treatment.
“It’s been illegal for so long. There has never been the opportunity to do the testing and research. By making it legal, the state wants to see research happen,” Kessler said. “Who we are really excited for are the patients because ultimately this is who it is going to affect the most.”
Riviera Creek is interested in a license for processing the marijuana, but it has decided not to go after a license to dispense it for people meeting medical guidelines.
An awarded Level I cultivator provisional licensee has up to 10 days to choose the location for the cultivation facility, according to the Department of Commerce. The state law says medical marijuana should be available by September 2018.
For more information, visit medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov.