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Inside Yellow Springs' New Medical Marijuana Cultivator

Cresco Labs
Marijuana saplings at Cresco Labs in Yellow Springs, which celebrated its grand opening this week.

Ohio’s new medical marijuana program was set to be fully operational in September, but it was delayed by hiccups with the implementation process.

One of the state's first-to-open, and largest, cultivation facilities is located in Yellow Springs. The Cresco Labs facility celebrated its grand opening Monday.

After winding our way through the 50,000-square-foot facility, reporters were led into an airy room with high ceilings. Fluorescent lights spotlight hundreds of potted marijuana seedlings situated on long shelving units.

Dennis Plamondon, Cresco’s so-called vice president of cultivation, describes how workers will tend to the plants.

“They're placed in these larger pots and brought into this room,” he says. 

Plamondon says the facility is already growing more than 30 different strains of marijuana, including one dubbed Yellow Springs Kush. The crop will be turned into a variety of product, including edibles and oral sprays.

Construction on the lab began last December and state awarded the facility its certificate of operation just three weeks ago.

Only about two dozen business are currently licensed to grow marijuana in the state of Ohio, and Republican state Rep. Rick Perales says he sees Cresco's new facility as a kind of guinea pig for the state’s new program.

“A lot is going to come out about how this works, and what the feedback will be after – is there smell, is there noise, those kind of things,” Perales says. “So, we’ll be tracking that. We’re lucky that one of the first ones is in Greene County so we can really analyze this thing.”

Cresco officials say their first harvest will take place by the end of the year, with packaged products available to state dispensaries early next year. Under Ohio law, doctors can prescribe medical marijuana to treat about two dozen different medical conditions.

Yellow Springs officials lobbied to bring Cresco into the village as part of a larger push for economic growth. Other Miami Valley municipalities, including Beavercreek, have passed medical-marijuana moratoriums.

April Laissle is a graduate of Ohio University and comes to WYSO from WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio where she worked as a weekend host and reporter. There, she reported on everything from food insecurity to 4-H chicken competitions. April interned at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, where she focused on health reporting. She also worked on The Broad Experience, a New-York based podcast about women and workplace issues. In her spare time, April loves traveling, trying new recipes and binge-listening to podcasts. April is a Florida native and has been adjusting to Ohio weather since 2011.