Founder and CEO Charles Bachtell of Cresco Labs LLC thinks that Yellow Springs, Ohio, is the perfect spot for his new venture: a 50,000 sq ft state-of-the-art greenhouse on an eight-acre section of land in the town.
"If we were going to create this new version of cannabis (production) in an area that never had it before, it was really important to have a solid relationship with the community.” Bachtell already has marijuana growing and retail operations in Pennsylvania and Illinois.
Bachtell sought a license in Ohio soon after the state legalized medical marijuana in September 2016. “Yellow Springs was on board with this collaborative process as soon as we started talking. We really hit it off.''
The remote enclave has about 3,700 people, and comedian Dave Chappelle, it’s most famous resident, has described it as a "hippie town'' for its free-spirited, counterculture reputation.
"I wasn't initially aware of the town's reputation, but it was interesting to find that out,” Bachtell said.
Cresco was one of 12 businesses selected to run a large marijuana farm of up to 25,000 square feet.
The Yellow Springs facility will include 25,000 square feet of growing space, plus 25,000 square feet of offices, harvesting and packaging rooms, according to Bachtell, and incorporate the latest indoor commercial agriculture and environmental controls technology.
"Calling it a greenhouse almost does it a disservice,'' Bachtell said. "I like to call it a super technologically advanced warehouse with a translucent roof on top.''
The project should have a direct economic impact on the Yellow Springs community, including new construction jobs, and then dozens of full-time employees once completed, according to Bachtell.
Despite threats from officials to freeze the recently awarded cultivation licenses after discovering that one of the consultants hired to score applications was a convicted drug dealer, the company is proceeding with construction as planned.
"Everybody needs to step back and remember that this is a medical law that was passed specifically to help patients in Ohio,'' Bachtell said. Freezing the licenses "would be doing a disservice to the patients and people of Ohio, and the law that was passed.''