Medical marijuana being harvested in Meigs County, Ohio

Todd McCay, an owner of Argi-Med Ohio LLC, sent the video to show the harvesting underway at his company. Agri-Med will likely have one of the first batches of product for sale in Ohio’s nascent medical marijuana program.

Agri-Med is licensed by the state to operate a small-scale medical marijuana cultivation facility. McCay said Agri-Med’s plants are grown indoors with the help of lights. The grow cycle varies, depending on the cannabis strain, usually three to four months, he said.

The video shows Agri-Med employees — Greg Byers is seen trimming and Lauren McCay is transporting flowers to the curing room — dressed in special clothing to prevent them from bringing in bugs or mold from outside and to keep their hair from getting into the marijuana.

The entire harvesting process involves cutting the plant at the base, then trimming the leaves to leave the flower behind – the bud contains the psychoactive THC – and hanging the plant upside down to dry.

“Between drying and curing, it is four to six weeks,” McCay said.

After it’s dry, Agri-Med must package it and get samples from each batch of product tested by a state-approved lab. No labs with provisional medical marijuana licenses have yet obtained certificates of operation, but may soon be ready for final inspection, Mark Hamlin of the Ohio Department of Commerce told an advisory committee Thursday.

The tests are to check for purity and pesticides.

If the medical marijuana clears testing, it can be processed and manufactured into edibles, tinctures, creams, vape oils and other forms under which it will be allowed to be legally used by people with medical marijuana cards. No processors have yet received certificates of operation, however.

If no processors are ready, “we can store it for a while, or we apply for the direct-to-dispensary license and sell direct to the dispensary in the flower form,” McCay said.

“We’re gong to harvest two more times before mid-November,” he said. “I would say by the end of November, early December, we should be ready to go to testing.”