The owner of a medical marijuana dispensary set for Coshocton County said his goal is to help people and have the business become a thriving part of the community.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy awarded 56 provisional licenses on Monday from 376 applications received. Two of the candidates were from Coshocton County with the higher rated one receiving the nod. Ohio Cannabis Clinic, LLC received 163.9 points and Mer-It Releaf, LTD earned 161.5 points.
Ohio Cannabis Clinic is a venture of Brian Wingfield of Columbus and Cindy Bradford, owner of Abbott Infusion Care in Coshocton. Wingfield said items to be sold will depend on what suppliers can give in the short time period before stores are set to open. He said edibles, oils and vaporizing pens would be most likely.
He hopes to be up and running by Sept. 8, the deadline set by the state to have the medical marijuana control program fully operational. He said they need to get policies and procedures put into place and install security cameras and devices among other work. Wingfield wasn’t sure how many employees they would have at first.
Wingfield said the store will be a professionally run and looking business, probably against the stereotypes many have about stores selling marijuana. Their goal is to be a member of the community and help those who truly could benefit from medical marijuana as prescribed by a doctor from a state approved list, he said.
“When we chose the name Ohio Cannabis Clinic, we wanted it to be more of a professional place,” Wingfield said. “I want the feel of the business to be like a nice doctor’s office or nice pharmacy. I want it to be somewhere when you walk in, you’re comfortable going into.”
The store will be located in the same building that houses Fortune’s Boot Shop and Agents Realty and Auction Services on County Road 621.
Mary Mason of Agents Realty said both businesses would be staying. She was supportive of the dispensary moving in if approved as she believes in the power of medical marijuana. She’s been taking CBD oil, which contains cannabis, for about a year for rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disorder. It relieves her pain and helps her to sleep, she said.
“It’s like every minute of every day you don’t know how you’re going to feel. You may wake up feeling great and the next 10 minutes you feel sick and have to go back to bed,” she said. “The CBD oil has made a world of difference as far as the pain and being able to sleep.”
Coshocton County is part of a three-county region that includes Muskingum and Morgan counties as designated by the state. No dispensary applications were received for Muskingum or Morgan. A grow facility operated by Grow Ohio Pharmaceuticals LLC was previously chosen to be located in Newtown Township, in Muskingum County.
The city of Coshocton had agreed to a grow facility being within city limits if approved, but council placed a moratorium on dispensaries that didn’t expire until after applications needed to be in. Mayor Steve Mercer said officials didn’t think they knew enough about the dispensaries to approve one for within city limits at the time.
Sheriff Tim Rogers said he didn’t have a comment outside of the dispensary being a legal business and his department will work with any legal business in the community.
“It is the law of the state. It is going to happen,” Mercer said. “One of the two applications made in our three-county district, both here in Coshocton County, were approved and I fully expected it to be.”
Mer-It Releaf if chosen was targeted to be located on 14 acres of land off of U.S. 36 between Walmart and the former Finton Equipment. The company was formed by Columbus attorneys Zachaury Meranda and Edward Itayim, per pharmacy board documents.
Applicants were rated on specific qualifications and 23 questions revolving around a business plan, an operations plan for compliance and enforcement and a patient care plan. All provisional license holders have six months to demonstrate compliance by completing a successful on-site inspection by the Board of Pharmacy. Once a dispensary is awarded a certificate of operation, it can begin selling medical marijuana to patients and caregivers, according to state laws and regulations.