Buckeye Relief of Eastlake, near Cleveland, is among the first of the state’s 13 large cultivators producing under the state’s new program.
Leslie Brandon, Buckeye Relief’s director of communications and community engagement, said the seeds were planted July 31. The company is cultivating more than 50 strains of marijuana at its facility.
Last week, the state said it expects medical marijuana to be available for Ohio patients by the end of the year. Ohioans can obtain medical marijuana only with a certified doctor’s recommendation to treat 21 qualifying conditions.
Only three cultivators, including Buckeye Relief, have been cleared to begin growing plants, which take between 16 and 22 weeks to reach maturity.
The plant then needs to be processed into forms that can be sold at dispensaries such as oils, lotions and edibles.
Mark Hamlin, who oversees cultivations for the Ohio Department of Commerce, said more state inspections for growers are scheduled for the end of this month and the first of September, and at least three more cultivators will be licensed to grow.
The state’s program begins Sept. 8, but for months, regulatory delays have slowed the process of growing and manufacturing marijuana for the market.
Now that cultivation has begun, Hamlin said, “It essentially is the business now at this point that will drive when those dates happen.”