GIBSONBURG – Village officials unveiled plans Wednesday for a proposed 50,000-square-foot medical marijuana production facility at the Clearview Industrial Park, a move that could bring in up to 100 new jobs. Mayor Steven Fought said the Ohio-based startup firm Standard Wellness Company LLC contacted the village six weeks ago about the park and the possibility of building a new facility at the industrial site.
“It’s no secret we’ve been trying to market our industrial park,” Fought said as he and Village Administrator Marc Glotzbecker talked about the proposed project and its potential impact on Gibsonburg. Fought said any deal with Standard Wellness is contingent on the company being one of 12 in Ohio to receive a level I license to produce medical marijuana.
If successful, Standard Wellness would break ground at the park in September and start production in September 2018, Fought said.
Standard Wellness would employ 30 to 40 people by the end of its first year, with the possibility of employing up to 100 people depending on patient demand for medical marijuana. Those jobs would pay between $15 and $25 an hour on average, Fought said, with a handful of six-figure salaried jobs at the plant.
The company’s estimated annual payroll, initially, would be $1.5 million to $2 million, Fought said, with the village reaping payroll, income and property tax revenue from the company.
The mayor said the company would be looking for people in Sandusky County with manufacturing backgrounds to work at the plant. “We see this as a huge win for our local economy,” Fought said, adding that Gibsonburg had not seen this opportunity for job growth since the 1980s with its lime plants.
Glotzbecker said the plant’s on-site operations will include the indoor cultivation, processing and research and development of medical marijuana. The village hosted a public meeting Wednesday to discuss the project. and asked for public support for Standard Wellness’ state application.
The Ohio Department of Commerce released applications in April for companies interested in cultivating medical marijuana. The department plans to issue up to 12 level I licenses for up to 25,000 square feet of growing space and 12 level II licenses for up to 3,000 square feet of space.
Standard Wellness is supposed to submit its application to the state on June 28 and would find out in September if it is awarded a license, Fought said.
Clearview Industrial Park, a 60-acre site off Ohio 600, has struggled to attract new businesses, but Fought said there had recently been more potential leads and inquiries from interested companies.
If Standard Wellness builds a new plant at the site, it would be operating on a 20-acre footprint, with employees entering through Commerce Drive and trucks accessing the facility via an access road connected to Ohio 600.
The medical marijuana grown at the plant primarily would be processed into oils and pharmaceutically-toned products such as patches, inhalers, tinctures, topical treatments and pills. There would also be raw marijuana flower packaged for sale to patients.
The village council unanimously passed an ordinance to pave the way for the company’s arrival. Gibsonburg will not have any medical marijuana dispensaries in the village, Fought and Glotzbecker stressed, as the council has placed a moratorium on those businesses.
Both men said about 80 percent of the village residents they’d talked to had expressed support for the project. Glotzbecker said he thought everybody sees the word “marijuana” and associates a stigma with the drug.
“Once they understand it’s a legal pharmaceutical in this form, the light goes on and they get it,” Glotzbecker said. The company neither asked for nor received any special financial or tax incentives, Fought said.
Standard Wellness will erect a perimeter fence and use military-grade cameras on the property’s exterior and interior, with at least one security guard on-site 24 hours a day. Fought said he didn’t think the village would need to employ additional police or offer expanded fire protection services for the plant.
Gibsonburg’s largest employer is Reno Linen, Glotzbecker said, which has employed about 100 people at its peak. Standard Wellness has an option to buy land in addition to its 20 acres, Glotzbecker said. “I think they’re going to be good neighbors and a positive part of the community,” Glotzbecker said.