Marijuana Facility coming to Mt. Orab

By Wayne Gates – 

A cultivation facility for medical marijuana is coming to Mt. Orab.
It will be located at 223 Homan Way off of Brooks Malott Road in a 56,000 square foot building, less than a mile directly northwest of Western Brown High School.
The facility will be one of 13 that were approved by the Ohio Department of Commerce on Nov. 30.
The operator of the site will be Columbia Care OH, LLC.  Columbia Care is a nationwide company that supplies medical marijuana in eight states, along with Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
According to the application filed with the state, Columbia Care will spend $11.5 million on building the secure facility.  It is expected to be complete in June of 2018, with the first product produced three months later.
The company also stated in the application with the state that “Initially we anticipate hiring an estimated 32 new full-time locally sourced positions for our Cultivation Facility, with an annual payroll of $1.7 million. This is a conservative estimate that only accounts for the anticipated initial demand and could increase to upwards of 150 jobs and $8-10 million in payroll if the demand warrants expansion.”
Regarding security, the company certified to the Ohio Department of Commerce that “all phases of the actual cultivation processes will take place in designated, locked, indoor, restricted-access areas monitored by our security surveillance system.”
The four listed owners of the property are Michael Abbott, Walter E. Homan, Walter E. Homan, Jr. and Nicholas Vita.  Each will have a 25% ownership.
Abbott is the Executive Chairman of Columbia Care and Vita is the CEO.
Homan is listed as the owner of Auto Fastener Group, Inc., which sold the property to Columbia Care.
Vita provided the following statement by e-mail to The Brown County Press.
“Columbia Care is honored and excited to be part of Ohio’s medical marijuana program and begin the important work of investing in Ohio and helping patients get the medicine they need. Today’s decision will allow Columbia Care to bring its national track-record of compliance and best-in-class care to support the launch of this important program. We look forward to working with the Mt. Orab community and others in Ohio in the coming months. The Company’s mission is to improve lives and communities through research, education, partnerships and the responsible use of their products. For further information on Columbia Care, LLC, please visit www.col-care.com or send inquiries to media@col-care.com”
Brown County Commissioner Barry Woodruff said that the commissioners had no input or participation in the permitting process for the facility.
Mt. Orab Mayor Bruce Lunsford said that he understands that some people might have a problem with the idea of marijuana being grown for profit in Mt. Orab, but that medical marijuana does have benefits.
“I am 100 percent against recreational marijuana.  Medical marijuana is now the law in the state of Ohio.  Medical marijuana has been proven to be beneficial in the treatment of glaucoma, seizures, especially in children, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, lupus, Parkinson’s disease, strokes and some other diseases.”
Lunsford also said that any additional tax revenue generated by the facility would be earmarked to increase staffing at the Mt. Orab fire and police departments.
Brown County Commissioner Barry Woodruff said that the commissioners had no input or participation in the permitting process for the facility.
“The thing to remember is that the Village or Mt. Orab or Brown County are not the ones that made medical marijuana legal in the state of Ohio,” said Lunsford.
He added that the facility will only be involved in the cultivation of marijuana, not its sale.
“This will not be a dispensary.  You cannot go there and buy this product. In the region that Ohio set up, Brown, Adams and Highland county are in the same district.  Nobody applied to be a dispensary in Brown County.  Two people applied to be a dispensary within the city of Hillsboro,” said Lunsford.
The state will award 15 dispensary licenses in southwest Ohio and 60 total.  Those selections have not yet been made.
The complete application for a cultivation license by Columbia Care can be found at https://www.medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/cultivation.