Proposed medical marijuana facility hopes to bring 300 jobs to Wilmington

WILMINGTON, OH (WCMH) — The people behind Ohio’s failed ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in 2015 are now planning to propose a medical marijuana growing facility in Wilmington.

The proposed site is currently a field spanning 19.2 acres, off Davids Drive and Olinger Circle in Wilmington. But Jimmy Gould and Ian James, who backed the ballot initiative in 2015, are planning to apply for a license with the Ohio Department of Commerce and other agencies as part of the state’s Medical Marijuana Control Program.

The state will accept applications for cultivator provisional licenses sometime after May, once “rules governing medical marijuana cultivators” are adopted, according to the Department of Commerce. A spokesperson said licenses will be awarded no earlier than the fall of 2017.

Jimmy Gould, who’s the chairman and founder of Green Light Acquisitions, said he decided after the failed 2015 initiative that what he really cared about was medical marijuana.

“I have two boys and I’ve been through a lot in my life, and what would I do if one of my kids was suffering from epilepsy?” Gould said.

Gould’s holding company, CannAscend, will apply for a license through the state. The proposal involves a $40 million campus for medical marijuana in Wilmington, beginning with a 30,000 square foot building and eventually expanding to include a research center and processing and manufacturing facility. Gould said as many as 300,000 patients could be treated there.

“I think it would be a great thing,” Christopher Graham said. “There’s people out here with PTSD, it helps with PTSD.”

Graham, who said he moved to Wilmington from Middletown a month and a half ago, supports medical marijuana. He said it helps him with post-traumatic stress from childhood and can help military veterans with theirs.

Graham is also in favor of the jobs it could bring to the area. Gould said the facility could employ 220 people and eventually as many as 300.

“We think we’ll replace the Amazon jobs. I will tell you, we’ll get close,” Gould said.

Graham said he had jobs in the past—”a little bit of everything”—but in Wilmington, he can’t find work.

For the Wilmington community, which has seen companies leave and jobs disappear, these jobs could bring relief. Local officials have voiced their support. Soon, the decision will be up to the state.

“I think it should be brought to Wilmington,” Graham said.

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