OBERLIN — A marijuana cultivator from Cleveland has been awarded a license to grow medical cannabis in Oberlin.
The state announced Friday the list of recipients of for the Level II cultivator provisional licenses with Oberlin being the only city in Lorain County to get a licensed grower.
The Level I cultivator provisional licenses will be announced in the coming weeks, according to the state.
The state Department of Commerce can award up to 12 Level I cultivator licenses and up to 12 Level II cultivator licenses.
The difference between them is size. Level 1 cultivators are allowed to operate a grow area of up to 25,000 square feet, while Level II cultivators are allowed to operate an initial grow area of up to 3,000 square feet.
According to the application submitted to the state, the Oberlin grower is Ascension BioMedical LLC with an address of 700 W. St. Clair Ave., Cleveland. It’s owned by Fadi Boumitri.
Oberlin Councilman Kelley Singleton said he was “head over heels” excited to find out the news Friday.
In May, Singleton pushed the Council to pass a resolution supporting medical marijuana businesses in the city’s industrial park, the zoning of which is compatible with the cultivation, testing and processing of marijuana.
“I’m so glad that we were able to pass that resolution,” Singleton said. “Without it, we wouldn’t be where we are now and wouldn’t have had a chance to get this done.”
Singleton said he’s focused on the economic benefits medical marijuana will bring to the city.
“It could add some sorely needed tax revenue and it’s more jobs, good-paying jobs for Oberlin,” Singleton said. “It was a lot of work involved in talking and convincing all member of Council that this was the right thing to do and now we won one.”
John Pardee, a founding member of the Ohio Rights Group and an Oberlin resident, also thanked Singleton for his work in a phone call Friday.
“I called Kelley Singleton and I gave him the congratulations. He was over-the-moon excited,” Pardee said. “I’m super excited and super proud of my hometown. I can’t wait to see how much good that’s going to do for Oberlin and the surrounding area.”
Boumitri was a lawyer in Cleveland when he started Ascension BioMedical.
And though he lives in nearby Cleveland, Boumitri hadn’t been to Oberlin until a family member invited him to the city for a charity event.
During the same time, he was looking for a place to put his new marijuana venture. When he saw Oberlin, he said, everything came together.
“I love the city. I love the town. I love the area,” Boumitri said. “I met with city officials and found them to be receptive. I’m absolutely wowed. I feel like there’s more going on in little Oberlin than all of the Cleveland area.”
He’s hoping to break ground in Oberlin as soon as possible to construct a 20,000-square-foot building in the city’s industrial park with 3,000 square feet in the building devoted to growing.
The rest of the building will be office space. He said he’s hoping to eventually get a state license for a processing lab.
“‘Ascension’ means to rise, so what we’re hoping to do is raise the bar for all of the patients who have been needing this in Ohio for a long time now,” Boumitri said.
Ascension BioMedical is partnered with an established medical marijuana business in Colorado, the employees of which will be advisers to the Oberlin grow operation.
“The initial plan is to have several people from Colorado … head up the entire organization until they can train the local employees,” Boumitri said. “Our goal is to be as local as possible. We will focus on hiring within the community first.”
Boumitri said he wants people to see the cultivation center as a biomedical company or a pharmaceutical company to give people a new idea of what the medical marijuana industry can be.
Right now, state law in Ohio bans medical cannabis patients from smoking marijuana, so Boumitri said any future processing plant would be focused on making oils and edibles.
He’s also looking forward to becoming involved with the Oberlin community.
“I fell in love with Oberlin before I ever decided to do medical marijuana out there,” Boumitri said.
Contact Jodi Weinberger at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.