Construction is progressing on the Buckeye Relief medical marijuana growing facility in Eastlake.
According to owner Andrew Rayburn, the facility could open by mid- to late summer.
“We are ahead of schedule on this by a couple of weeks,” Rayburn said. “These guys are doing a tremendous job, the construction company, the iron workers, the trades have done a phenomenal job working through this hard winter and not missing a day.”
Rayburn attributes the speed at which the construction is being completed to the city, along with the building director and fire marshal.
“There have been a lot of little things that come up and when they come up, we get answers right away and that’s a special relationship that isn’t happening in 11 other cities around Ohio,” Rayburn said. “We are very grateful for that. Between the cooperation of the city and my team, it can’t go any faster.”
Buckeye Relief has a Level 1 provisional license right now. In order to get the license to operate the facility, they have to be fully operational with product growing by Sept. 8.
“When we are done and are ready to open, we arranged with the state regulator from the Department of Commerce to come with his team to inspect us versus our application and decide if we get our certificate of operation or not,” Rayburn said. “We are in close communication with the regulator constantly, just keeping him up to date on the things going on, the little changes. They are very reasonable and they are all about working with the industry and trying to help us.”
According to Rayburn, plants will be ready to go in as soon as the construction is completed later this summer.
Initially, the business plans to make lotions and edibles, along with extracting oil to make the products such as vapor pen cartridges with oil distillate.
“We kept it open to be flexible because certain products are going to take off more than others,” Rayburn said. “We left room for expansion to add additional product lines.”
Products will be housed in a reinforced metal and concrete vault.
The facility will house a state-of-the art computer system to control the air quality, climate control and watering of the plants.
Buckeye Relief currently holds just a cultivation license. Rayburn is waiting to learn if he is approved for an extraction processor license and dispensary license. He anticipates receiving a decision on those in April and May.
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The company is looking to hire at least 30 people.
Hiring will began in late spring for a group to start with the opening of the business this summer. A second round of hiring will take place in October for a group to start in November, as long as everything goes as planned.
Rayburn says these are contingent on things going as planned, because of some issues happening outside the control of the business.
“With all the lawsuits, there are many companies that were not successful in the licensing process that would like to delay the process. We don’t think that will happen, but it might, so that is a variable,” Rayburn said. He also mentioned a proposed banking system currently in the Ohio Legislature called the Closed Loop Banking System. Rayburn said he doesn’t believe that this state-controlled banking system is needed.
“We think that a free market banking system will work just fine,” Rayburn said. He explained that Buckeye Relief has held discussions with quite a few banks that are interested in doing business with the company. In addition, Rayburn said every state in the country has a free market banking system, so to create a new state-regulated system is unnecessary.”
Eastlake Mayor Dennis Morley said he can’t wait until the facility is up and running.
“I’m just thrilled with how it’s been coming along — the crew, the building, it’s amazing how fast it’s coming,” Morley said.
After touring the facility with Rayburn, Morley noted how impressed he was with how perfectly everything is formulated to run.
Morley said that while walking through the facility with Rayburn and listening to him explain every room, it’s clear that Rayburn’s knowledge is why Buckeye Relief got the top score.
In addition, Morley said the city has established an excellent working relationship with Rayburn and Buckeye Relief.
“We are involved with this project with them,” Morley said. “We have been involved since day one and I’m looking forward just like everyone else to seeing the day they open, the day people are working here and the day the product starts helping the people who are going to need it.”