In a former warehouse on Crescent Street, not far from downtown Youngstown, Riviera Creek Holdings is now growing marijuana for medical use. It’s a very secure, very sterile and very high-tech facility that’s growing products that will become pharmaceuticals. The site is owned by Brian Kessler and his nephew, Daniel Kessler.
Currently, they are growing the first-ever legal marijuana plants in the Valley.
“Riviera Creek has one of the most sophisticated grow facilities in the country and maybe in the world,” Brian said.
So sophisticated and proprietary, that no cameras can record the growing process.
“We’re literally already to the point where we’re ready to start flowering in the near future,” Brian said.
Inside the testing lab, the marijuana is constantly being analyzed to see what’s going on with the plants and, most importantly, their potency.
“What we’re doing is multiple types that would have different levels. Not only THC but you’re also talking about the different terpenes, you’re talking the different CBD levels, all the things that go into the plant that give it the medicinal effects,” Daniel said.
Security is tight. All visitors must check in on an iPad and there are 50 cameras on site.
Since the plants will eventually be used to make drugs, everyone has to wear sanitary scrubs and when inside the growing area, add a mask and gloves.
“We look forward to producing some of the highest quality, safest, stable product the market can bear,” Brian said.
The long hallway leading to the growing rooms looks like something from the Matrix — all white with gray doors.
Currently, about a dozen people work at Riviera Creek. Eventually, there will be 100.
The marijuana that’s growing now should be ready to harvest by late January. It will then be tested by the state and if approved, sent to a processor to make into drugs.
The Kesslers have also applied for a processor’s license but have not yet heard if they’ll get one.
Brian said he’s pleased with how the medical marijuana program was set up in Ohio — he thinks it was done right.
Brian would not say exactly how much money they’ve invested, though Daniel said it’s in the multi-millions.