As an Ohio native, Andrew “Andy” Rayburn, founder and CEO for Buckeye Relief, has a reason to be excited. His business, a medical marijuana cultivation facility, which he is preparing to build at the former JFK property at 33505 Curtis Blvd. in Eastlake, has just been awarded a license for the cultivation and harvest of medical marijuana. It is one of 12 granted in Ohio.
“This is a great day for Eastlake,” said Rayburn. “We knew we had a solid team and we knew we had a solid chance.”
The property, which was appraised for $300,000, was sold to Buckeye Relief pending obtaining a license for the appraised amount.
Prior to the sale, since it was government property the city was not able to collect tax money from the property which hadn’t been used for an estimated 15-20 years. With the sale of the property Eastlake now benefits from the profits of the sale but also from the ability to collect property taxes now. Additional financial benefits to the city include collecting a yearly $20,000 licensing fee, the addition of 30 new jobs within the first year and city income tax generated from the new jobs. Rayburn anticipates an estimated payroll of about $1.5 million and the addition of 20 more jobs during the business’s second year of operation.
Rayburn credits his team with trying to do everything right and having a top-notch security team led by former U.S. Secret Service Director Lewis Merletti, who also previously served as head of security for the Cleveland Browns.
Eastlake Mayor Dennis Morley said he is pleased to welcome Buckeye Relief to the city.
“Since the time (Andy) Rayburn first approached the city with his plans to establish a state-of-the-art cultivation facility in our city, I have been impressed by his passion and professionalism,” the mayor said. “Even before today’s provisional license was awarded, Andy (Rayburn) had invested a significant amount of money improving the industrial site where the cultivation facility will be located.”
Rayburn had started work on the site in September by removing old buildings and clearing the ground to prepare for building the facility. Construction is expected to start as early as Dec. 3-4 and is expected to be completed within the third quarter (July-August) of 2018, Rayburn said.
When completed, the facility will consist of a 50,000 square-foot building and greenhouses. Rayburn previously noted he plans to use local contractors whenever possible.
The Snavely Group, located in Chardon, is the contractor building the facility
“Moving forward, we are excited about the jobs this facility will create and the overall economic impact it will have on our city,” Morley said. “Andy has demonstrated throughout his career a commitment to giving back to communities in which he operates. We expect that he will have the same approach in Eastlake and we truly look forward to working with him and the rest of the Buckeye Relief team.”
State Sen. Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, who has been a strong supporter of legalizing medical marijuana, said this is good news for Eastlake.
He feels that it got off to a slow start in Eastlake with residents who had some concerns but was optimistic after addressing them in a town hall meeting.
“Having done all the research and working to get the legislation passed, I know first hand we are going to help seniors and kids with illnesses, create jobs and help the city,” Yuko said. “We are heading in a new direction. When medical marijuana is able to prevent a child form suffering from hundreds of seizures, we are going to be responsible for that right here in Eastlake, Ohio. This is a game-changer”