RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio — The city’s Planning Commission, on Wednesday, recommended a conditional use for medical marijuana to be sold, processed and cultivated at the former Villa di Borally party center building. Lawyer David Patton, representing the firm Crataegus, showed the commission plans for the eastern building at the Borally site — the older, white building at 27227 Chardon Road. There are two Borally buildings on Chardon Road.
Crataegus, owned by Mayfield Heights’ resident Susan Greenberg and which plans to sell Mr. McGooz cannabis products produced by Greenberg’s husband, Marine veteran Ron Hudson, will soon seek licensing to cultivate, process and dispense medical marijuana on the site. City Council has already approved zoning for medical marijuana business at the building.
In addition, Crataegus plans to have a physician’s office and a space for education in the building.
It was on Feb. 28 that council elected to make the medical marijuana business legal in the city. By that time, Hudson had already been working with city officials to establish a business at the former party center building, which dates to 1962 and which last hosted a party in 2012.
“First, we’ll gut the whole building,” Patton told commission members. “It’s a solid building. I heard someone say if you were to build that building today it would cost $1.5 million. The building has good bones.”
Patton explained that Crataegus plans to seek a state license for the smaller of two growing areas permitted, for 3,000 square feet. All growing will take place inside the building. A retail area, he said, would be at the front of the building.
“It will look like a cigar shop, with an attendant at the counter,” Patton said. “The inventory will be in back.”
Patton said Crataegus is pleased that there is a large kitchen in the building, as it would be used to make the company’s specialty, chocolate bars containing marijuana.
A processing area in the building would be used to make edibles, vapors and oils as medical marijuana in Ohio will not be permitted to be smoked.
Commission members asked Patton questions about security. Patton noted that RHPD Chief Gene Rowe made the trip to Lansing, Mich., with other city officials, where Hudson also operates, to check on security. Rowe has not advised against the project and is working with Hudson in Richmond Heights.
The state will not allow armed guards on the premises as marijuana growing and use remains against federal law. Not everyone would be allowed in the facility. Those who have received a recommendation from a doctor to use medical marijuana would be permitted inside and would use a card to pay for their purchases so that money will not be on the premises.
Security cameras would capture all activities taking place at the site and, Patton said, police would have the ability to watch, on camera, all activities as they take place in live time.
Patton said that guidelines are still being devised in Ohio as to how medical marijuana is grown, processed and sold.
The state will first accept applications for cultivation, from June 5-16.
“It’s not a done deal unless we get a permit from the state,” Patton said of purchase of the Borally building.
Commission Chairman Tom Brown asked about the possibility of selling recreational marijuana at the site. Patton said that such sales are illegal in Ohio and, therefore, would not take place in Richmond Heights.
If the state, through legislation or by the vote of Ohioans, makes recreational marijuana legal, Patton said, “We would re-evaluate the situation, as would all those selling it.”
Council only voted to allow medical marijuana to be grown, processed and sold in Richmond Heights. Council would have to approve any recreational sales if the state were to legalize such use.
Patton said Crataegus and others — only 24 cultivation sites will initially be licensed for all of Ohio — will learn if they receive a license sometime in August. When applying, Patton said, applicants must show the state that they have a location and proper zoning.
The deadline to apply for a processing license comes in October.
Said Patton of Crataegus, “We want to create medicine to help people. That’s our primary mission.”
Brown was concerned that the residents of Richmond Heights would need to be more informed on the subject before the commission granted the plan’s approval. He abstained when the vote was taken, with the remaining four members voting in the affirmative.
Council will likely vote to accept the commission’s recommendation at its meeting June 27.