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Erie and Sandusky counties snag large medical marijuana operations 

By Kelly Byer • Updated Dec 1, 2017 at 9:50 AM

CANTON — One of a dozen companies licensed for large-scale cannabis cultivation has plans for Canton.

The Ohio Department of Commerce on Thursday announced the provisional licenses for operations up to 25,000 square feet and a final license for small-scale operations of up to 3,000 square feet, totaling 24 licenses equally split by size.

Cultivators also were licensed for locations in Summit, Mahoning, Cuyahoga, Lake, Muskingum, Erie, Sandusky, Clark, Greene, and Brown counties. One must choose between sites in Cuyahoga and Lawrence counties within 10 days.

Terradiol, a medical cannabis company with headquarters in Syracuse, N.Y., plans to operate at 3800 Harmont Ave. NE, in Canton. The company is leasing the 58,000-square-foot, former grocery store from McKinley Development, according to its application.

The building previously housed the 5th Avenue Flea Market and an Apples grocery store before that. It's been vacant since about 2009 and became a public health nuisance a few years later when illegally dumped tires piled up, according to past reports.

Terradiol CEO John Vavalo emailed a statement in response to requests for comment: "We are excited to open our facility and join the Ohio Medical Cannabis industry. We will work quickly to open our state-of-the-art production facility in Canton and look forward to hiring locally and joining the Canton community."

In May, a Terradiol representative presented information to Canton City Council, expressing interest in locating in Canton and a potential medical research partnership with the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Hall of Famer Floyd Little is a board member of the medical cannabis company.

Terradiol Ohio LLC's application scored 165.48 out of a possible 200 points, coming in seventh among all applicants. The Department of Commerce ranked them on business, operations, quality assurance, security and financial plans.

The business plan included on Terradiol's application includes an eventual job fair early on to hire and train about 25 employees, who will earn at least $19 an hour, plus benefits. The company states that it is committed to making more than 90 percent of its workforce local to "be representative of the community where we are located."

It's strictly a biopharmaceutical company.

"We have never contemplated nor desired to produce combustible products, edible products or anything that resembles a marijuana recreational product," the application states.

Ohio's Medical Marijuana Control Program, which must be established by September 2018, prohibits smoking. Allowed are oils, tinctures, plant material, patches, vaping and edibles that do not look like candy.

Thomas Rosenberger, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association's recently formed Ohio chapter, wrote in an email that the state's Thursday announcement ends a "long and highly competitive" cultivator application process.

"The applicants who were awarded provisional licenses today have clearly demonstrated that they are among the leaders of this industry, and we look forward to working with them to provide patients safe access to medical marijuana," the executive director of the advocacy and trade organization wrote.

Provisional license holders have nine months to set up shop and pass a state inspection before cultivation can begin. The state has yet to award dispensary licenses, for which there were 18 applicants in Stark, and processor licenses, which will be accepted in December.

The city of Canton also crafted local regulations to require a license and security inspection for medical marijuana operations.

Earlier this month, the state awarded the small-scale cultivator Mother Grows Best a license to operate in the Stein Industrial Park on Steinway Boulevard SE in Canton.

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