The orange glow of an I-502 cultivation site in Washington state.

Sarah Climaco

Ohio Officials Give First MMJ Cultivator Go-Ahead to Grow, License Early Testing Labs

Ohio’s first licensed, state-legal medical cannabis grow has received the go-ahead from the Ohio Department of Commerce, according to a report.

The certificate was awarded to Portage County-based FN Group Holdings LLC on Friday and authorizes the company — which will be doing business under the name Wellspring Fields — to grow up to a 3,000-foot canopy of cannabis plants.

The state began issuing cultivator licenses in December; none of the facilities, however, had yet to pass an inspection and therefore had not received final approval to put seeds in the ground. Wellspring Fields was the first to pass inspection (another company, Pure Ohio Wellness LLC, had a failed inspection in May) and can begin growing immediately.

Ohio’s medical cannabis program legally launches on September 8. Officials, however, have already admitted that medicine won’t be ready for launch because of delays in the licensing process. At best, patients can hope the delay lasts only a few weeks.

The Commerce Department also on Friday awarded testing lab licenses to two colleges — Central State University in Wilberforce and Hocking Technical College in Nelsonville — and announced that licenses for privately-run labs will be coming soon. All cannabis products distributed in the Ohio marketplace must undergo quality and potency tests by an independent lab.

In June, the pharmacy board issued 56 cannabis dispensary licenses.

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