A Hudson-based firm learned Thursday that it will receive one of the 12 Tier I licenses to grow medical marijuana in Ohio, and will move forward with plans to build a 50,000-square-foot cultivation facility in Sandusky County.
Standard Wellness Company LLC, with its headquarters at 77 Milford Drive, Suite 232, was approved Nov. 30 by the Ohio Department of Commerce to build and operate the Level 1 medical marijuana cultivation facility in Gibsonburg, in northwest Ohio.
Erik Vaughan is listed in the license application as the chief executive officer of Standard Wellness LLC. An email to Vaughn seeking comment was not returned.
Gibsonburg Mayor Steve Fought said the village is "excited to welcome Standard Wellness to our family and we could not be happier about this opportunity."
Fought said while some communities have chosen to "to run away from this opportunity and ban it, we on the other hand see not only the vast economic impact but also more importantly the positive impact that this will have on patients throughout the State of Ohio."
Hudson City Council passed an ordinance in early October amending the planning and zoning code to prohibit cultivation, processing and dispensing of marijuana in the Hudson city limits.
"The scientific evidence does not support some of the claims that are being made. There is concern about whether or not this ... can contribute to other issues and problems of addiction," Mayor David Basil said in October.
Twinsburg City Council in April, however, overturned a previous moratorium it had placed on occupancy permits for the cultivation or processing of marijuana, opening the door for such businesses in that city. A Twinsburg company that had sought one of the permits — Silphium LLC — was not one of those selected by the state, however.
Twinsburg had reached a unique deal with Silphium that would have funneled 2.5 percent of Silphium’s proceeds to the city of Twinsburg for allowing the company set up shop there.
Gibsonburg is located 33 miles southeast of Toledo.
Village Council there unanimously approved a series of ordnances making this medical marijuana farm possible, Fought said, adding he and council had met with the Standard Wellness team several times before any legislation was adopted.
"(We) never once had a doubt that this was a good thing for the village of Gibsonburg," Fought said. "In a small town that is as conservative as a place that you will find anywhere, you would think that a progressive idea like this wouldn’t go over so well, but you would be wrong.
"I give credit to the Standard Wellness team as well as my administration for being open, upfront, and very public with our intent. We educated the public, we held open forums, and we did our best to make sure people knew what this is and what this is not in order to calm the fears and knock back the misconceptions."
Fought said the village's efforts led to more than 1,000 signatures on a local petition in support of this opportunity in a village whose population is about 2,500 residents.
Standard Wellness plans to construct the grow facility on roughly 20 acres of land in the Clearview Industrial Park, Fought said. The facility will employ between 30-40 employees initially and grow to about 100 employees as the patient market matures. Jobs will range from $15-$20 per hour and several 6-figure jobs for management and specialty positions.
"With a projected economic impact of over $50 million in 10 years to the local economy, the village of Gibsonburg, and the surrounding area will benefit from this opportunity on many levels. Today is a great day in Gibsonburg’s history," Fought said. "We look forward to the months ahead and watching the progress as the Standard Wellness team gears up for the September 2018 launch of the medical marijuana program in Ohio."
The 12 approved locations are:
• Buckeye Relief LLC (Eastlake, Lake County)
• Grow Ohio Pharmaceuticals LLC (Newton Township, Muskingum County)
• OPC Cultivation LLC (Huron, Erie County)
• Riviera Creek Holdings LLC (Youngstown, Mahoning County)
• Pure Ohio Wellness LLC (Springfield, Clark County)
• Columbia Care OH LLC (Mt. Orab, Brown County)
• Terradiol Ohio LLC (Canton, Stark County)
• Standard Wellness Company LLC (Gibsonburg, Sandusky County)
• AT-CPC of Ohio LLC (Akron, Summit County)
• Cresco Labs Ohio LLC (Yellow Springs, Greene County)
• Parma Wellness Center LLC (Parma, Cuyahoga County)
• Harvest Grows LLC (Hamilton Township, Lawrence County)
• Harvest Grows LLC (Cleveland, Cuyahoga County)
Twelve businesses were picked from 109 applicants to run Ohio's large marijuana farms.