A meeting to discuss the possible construction of a medical marijuana greenhouse in German Township has been scheduled.
The public can learn about medical marijuana, what some call medical cannabis, Tuesday, May 30, 7 pm, at the Ruihley Park Pavilion.
At the meeting, there will be a presentation by Martha Hackett, an Archbold native, and her son, Oscar.
During a Monday, May 22 meeting of the German Township Trustees, M. Hackett, a family physician based in Mentor, told the trustees cannabis can treat a wide variety of medical issues, from heroin addiction to Alzheimer’s disease.
Oscar Hackett is chief fi- nancial officer and general counsel for Rustic Pathways, a travel agency that specializes in travel to places where a traveler can do service work.
They and their partner, Dave Neundorfer, a CEO of an industrial software company, are combining to start Green Leaf Gardens.
Part of their plan is to build a 40,000-square-foot greenhouse to grow marijuana plants and process the plants into products for sale to distributors and dispensaries outside German Township, in cities with high population densities.
The proposed site for the greenhouse and processing facility is a 20-acre parcel on M. Hackett’s family farm south of Co. Rd. G and west of Co. Rd. 24.
O. Hackett said the estimated construction cost for the greenhouse facility is $4.3 million. The facility could employ 40 people.
It is anticipated to generate $15 million in revenue per year, and contribute sales and property taxes.
In addition, O. Hackett said the company putting the project together (Green Leaf Gardens) is willing to commit $50,000 to work with German Township on local issues.
M. Hackett told the trustees as a physician for 34 years, she operates from a wellness perspective, moving away from traditional medicines that can have side effects to more natural products.
Cannabis contains two materials, THC and CBD.
THC is the psychoactive compound that generates the “high” from marijuana.
CBD is the substance that has a variety of medical uses.
The two can be isolated from one another in processing.
M. Hackett said studies have shown that cannabis can stop the progression of Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and neuroblastoma (a form of cancer), among others.
It is also useful in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, which is an inflammation in the joints.
“It (cannabis) is a beautiful anti-inflammatory,” she said.
She was most excited about using the CBD portion of marijuana to treat heroin addiction.
Almost every week, she said she meets someone who lost a family member to heroin overdoses. She said she met one man who had lost two sons to heroin.
Then, she said, she met a man who had just been released from a clinic for heroin addiction, where he had been given cannabis.
She said he told her cannabis had quieted the anxiety in his mind and “reignited the will to eat food again.”
Medical cannabis does not have to be smoked. CBD can be put into capsules, lotions, tinctures (liquid medicine placed under the tongue), and vaporizers.
O. Hackett explained the state of Ohio is putting strict controls on medical marijuana.
Applications for 12 growing licenses for operations of up to 25,000 square feet open in June.
He predicted there will be 200 applicants, of which about 50 will be serious contenders.
While an applicant’s location is not supposed to be a factor in awarding a license, he expects it will be considered by state regulators.
Regulators, he said, will look for operations with security plans in place. They will also want applications to be sustainable, with $750,000 in escrow available.
O. Hackett said Green Leaf Gardens is working with a Texas firm on a security plan, which will include motion-activated lights, cameras, and the possibility of a 24-hour guard.
People who work in the greenhouse must be individually licensed and pass background checks.
O. Hackett said Green Leaf Gardens will establish its own training program. The company will look for persons who can learn quickly and pass the background check.
At the trustees’ May 8 meeting, a resolution banning the cultivation, processing or sale of marijuana was approved, after the trustees were first contacted about the project.
When asked what Green Leaf Gardens would need from the trustees, O. Hackett said state officials need to see a document saying the trustees would grant permission to cultivate cannabis.
O. Hackett said they would also like a letter of support from the trustees.
The trustees took no action on the requests.
Randy Ruffer, a trustee, said after an article about the issue appeared in this newspaper, he heard no positive comments about growing marijuana in the township.
He said seven or eight people opposed the project.
Bruce Lauber, president of the trustees, said while he had heard negative comments, his own wife was in favor of medical marijuana.
He said she is conservative, so for her to even say the word “marijuana” is a big step.