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Marijuana grower ready to move ahead — State approves Cresco Labs

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Last week, the state of Ohio approved Cresco Labs Ohio LLC as one of 12 recipients of a license for the large-scale cultivation of medical marijuana. The approval means that by next spring Yellow Springs will likely have a medical marijuana cultivating business on the western edge of the village.

Cresco had in recent months reached agreement with the Village to purchase eight acres on the Center for Business and Education, or CBE, for the business, pending approval from the state.
“This is good news for Yellow Springs,” Village Council President Karen Wintrow said at Council’s Dec. 4 meeting, announcing the state approval of Cresco’s application for cultivating medical marijuana.

The news is important to Yellow Springs largely because Cresco will provide new jobs, Wintrow said. Owners have said they will initially hire about 35 workers, and will gradually build to up to 75 employees.

“This is an opportunity to reinvigorate Yellow Springs as a location for business and for innovation,” Wintrow said last week, after the license was approved.

The news is also important because Cresco will be the first business located in the 35-acre CBE, which has been for more than a decade intended for economic development but has remained undeveloped, Wintrow said. Originally owned by the private group Community Resources, the project stalled over many years, until the group gave the land to the Village in summer 2016, in return for the forgiveness of the $300,000 loan the Village made to Community Resources to purchase the land in 2004. Cresco became interested in the land earlier this year, and contacted Village leaders. The company has since agreed to pay $20,000 an acre, or about $160,000, for the land, and to pay for development of infrastructure on the property.

According to Village Manager Patti Bates on Tuesday, Cresco leaders will visit Yellow Springs this week to meet jointly with the Greene County Building Department to clarify permitting requirements, will settle any remaining issues on the land sale and identify potential closing dates. They will also determine a good date for a groundbreaking ceremony.

“Cresco has already jump-started the process,” Wintrow said last week of the company’s interest in moving quickly.

There were 109 applicants throughout the state for the large-scale cultivation license. License winners were awarded up to 200 points based on their business plans, security, quality assurance and financial plans. Cresco received 159.8 points in the process.

The company is a partnership of 28 owners, including Ohio Republican political consultants Chris and Mike Schrimpf and lobbyists Troy Judy and Chad Hawley, according to a Nov. 30 article in the Springfield News-Sun. Cresco owns three marijuana cultivation and processing plants in Illinois. Before reaching an agreement with Cresco, several Village Council members and Village staff visited the Illinois facilities, and reported that the businesses appeared to be well run.

Cresco owners have said they plan to construct a 23,000-square-foot facility for the cultivation of marijuana. They also have plans for a similar size facility for processing the marijuana plants into medical marijuana products, although licensing for that process has not yet taken place.

Cresco owners were not available to speak about their plans before the News publication time this week.

According to the Springfield News-Sun article, the state has not yet approved licenses for the processing of medical marijuana products. No companies are planning to sell the products in Yellow Springs, although Cresco has applied for five dispensary licenses across the state, including one on Linden Avenue in Dayton.

Other items of Council’s Dec. 4 agenda will be in next week’s News.


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