High-Tech Agriculture Meets Cutting-Edge Medicine in Huron

Over the past several days, our development countdown has featured newly launched startups,   long established greenhouse growers, quality product manufacturers,  and cutting-edge medical solutions  across the County.  Ohio Patients' Choice (OPC), a new business that just broke ground in Huron, will combine elements from each of these industries under one roof when it opens in late Spring 2018.

Last week, OPC began construction on its state-of-the-art, highly secured medical marijuana cultivation facility on vacant land purchased from the City of Huron. OPC was recently awarded a provisional "Level I cultivator" license by the State of Ohio - one of only 12 such licenses awarded statewide under Ohio's new Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) - which allows it to build a 25,000 square foot cultivation facility that may be expanded up to 75,000 square feet depending on patient demand and regulatory approvals.

The MMCP, passed with strong bipartisan support by the Ohio Legislature and signed into law by Governor Kasich in 2016, is widely regarded as one of the most tightly regulated and pharmaceutically oriented medical marijuana programs in the country. Seriously ill patients with one of 21 qualifying medical conditions will be able to access this medicine only under the continued care and recommendation of an Ohio licensed doctor. The level of security and technology in OPC's facility will far exceed that of traditional agricultural and manufacturing facilities, with all plants and products being tracked by RFID tags from "seed to sale" and with surveillance cameras linked live to local and state law enforcement officials.

OPC is led by a team of accomplished Ohio-based entrepreneurs who have built and grown significant businesses that employ over a thousand Ohioans. OPC has partnered with leading Ohio-based medical, regulatory, and security professionals who are experts in their respective fields. The 25,000 square foot cultivation facility was designed by national experts in controlled-environment, sustainable agriculture, who have decades of experience in the field, including extensive operational and management experience in large Ohio horticultural facilities. 

The total project investment is expected to exceed $20 million with plans to hire up to 72 employees. As part of its "local-first policy," OPC intends to hire as many members of its team from the Erie County region as possible. Recruitment efforts will include the hosting of a career fair in collaboration with ECEDC and other local partners, tentatively planned for early Spring 2018.

Beyond its direct economic impact, OPC also plans to encourage investment in other local initiatives through its nonprofit grant program. In partnership with the City of Huron, OPC intends to provide targeted grant funding for initiatives of regional nonprofit organizations. An internal review board, comprised of employees, advisory board members and representatives from the city will review grant proposals and make award decisions. 

Jeff McCourt, project manager and compliance director for OPC, expressed the company's commitment to implementing a business model that emphasizes patient care and community above all else.   "We could not be more excited. Huron and Erie County provide a welcoming community for any new business, offering an inviting, small-town atmosphere, relatively low cost of living and access to Ohio's greatest natural asset, Lake Erie. It is no surprise that the region is experiencing a significant economic resurgence and population growth. We look forward to being part of that, providing good paying jobs and significant new revenue streams to the County, while helping patients find relief from serious medical conditions. We cannot thank the City of Huron and the ECEDC enough for their professionalism and engagement throughout this process, and we look forward to taking the next steps together, as we complete construction and ramp up operations at the facility."

Any inquiries: info@ohiopatientschoice.com
Companies like Ohio Patients Choice utilizing a "local-first policy" have a host of resources at their disposal for talent attraction, retention and development.  OPC is partnering with Bowling Green Firelands to host a career fair and provide students accessible, rewarding employment opportunities.  Other partners and resources could include career centers, professional associations and the  OhioMeansJobs center.  Let us know how ECEDC can help you with ideas and connections for your next hire.
The 12 Days of Development email series recognizes and celebrates another year of progress in Erie County, Ohio.  Each day this week and next you will receive an email spotlight on a company investing, improving and innovating in our community. We can't capture it all, so let us know a neighbor we missed or what activities you've got planned to make the 2018 list!