Village of Johnstown embraces marijuana-related businesses

JOHNSTOWN, OH (WCMH)–While some communities in Ohio are starting to exercise their right under the state’s new medical marijuana law to “opt out” of allowing marijuana-related businesses, the Village of Johnstown is ready to opt in.

Village Manager Jim Lenner is among those who see economic development possibilities.

“So basically all this (resolution) is doing at this time is saying we’re open to the idea, let’s continue to talk about it, we’re not going to shut it down right now,” Lenner said. The Johnstown Village Council voted 6-1 to pass the resolution at its Tuesday evening meeting.

There has been no vocal opposition to the marijuana resolution so far.

Kaylea Kaiser, a mother of two young children, is not surprised.

“I think we have a lot of positive, forward-thinking people in this community and I think that’s the reason why,” Kaiser said.

Johnstown already has a connection to the marijuana industry.

Apex Supercritical has 26 employees and has experienced tremendous growth over the past three years. Apex manufactures systems that extract the cannabis oil from marijuana plants.

All of Apex’s customers are out-of-state, where medical marijuana is already legal. But with Ohio now writing the regulations for the medical marijuana industry here, Apex founder and president Andy Joseph sees opportunities.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be successful in the marijuana industry with just my little tiny business here,” he said. “I’d like to see other people have similar opportunities.”

Joseph has an idea. Why not build a $500 million medical marijuana campus in Johnstown that would include growing operations, processing, testing, research and development?

“I think there’s a tremendous opportunity for other entrepreneurs who are interested in the green rush to come to Johnstown and plant their stake here and get a piece of it just like I have,” Joseph said.

Joseph says it will be the communities in Ohio willing to jump in early that will be most successful in the marijuana industry. He say he has seen proof of that over and over again in other states.

“The first municipalities that can accept and embrace and adopt marijuana and do it right – those are the guys that are winning today,” Joseph said.

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