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'We need to have more material': Meet the man who oversees 1st recreational marijuana plants for sale in Ohio

Sales could begin as soon as mid-June
Cannabis Marijuana
Cannabis Marijuana
Posted at 9:47 AM, May 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-16 09:47:31-04

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio — At Cresco Labs grow facility, it’s moving day for 400 pounds of cannabis flower.

Facility director Joe Chek oversees the more than 10,000 plants across the Yellow Springs facility.

“They’re going to have more space to grow, and they’re going to be in a slightly different environment. The key difference is the time of light that they're exposed to per day,” Chek said.

Cannabis Marijuana
Employees as a Cresco Labs facility in Yellow Springs move cannabis flower.

More light brings more bud, something that will be necessary when Ohio’s adult-use cannabis program rolls out.

“We know that because the market is going to grow by such a large degree that we need to have more material ready, and so that's what we're doing,” Chek said.

There is no difference between a cannabis plant designated for medical use and recreational use. That’s how the company, which holds a medical growing license from the state, is able to prepare ahead of time.

“We’ve done this in other states, so we know that there will be a mad rush of people,” said Cresco Labs spokesperson Jason Erkes. “We're ramping things up as quickly as we can to be able to supply as much as we can. It's likely that there'll probably be some supply shortages or kind of waves up and down, as it takes time for the plants to grow.”

Cannabis Marijuana
An employee checks the condition of cannabis bud.

On Monday, a state committee gave the green light to new rules for adult-use sales. By June 7, at the latest, medical dispensaries should be able to fill out an application to sell recreationally.

“As quickly as the state turns around the approval of those applications, sales should start,” Erkes said. “What we're being told is that that will be a kind of a scattered start."

Erkes said people are “genuinely excited” for sales to begin, including the employees that manage the facility. Since Issue 2 passed in November, the headcount has increased by 50. It’s expected to double to about 150-175 by July.

“Candidates from all walks of life [apply] to the cannabis industry, and we welcome them,” Chek said. “This is an industry that has been on the fringe for some time.”