Green Leaf Cannabis Growth Stalled, Gummies in Demand – Geauga Maple Leaf

The Green Leaf Ohio marijuana processing facility in Middlefield Village is churning out gummies and THC oil syringes to supply medical dispensaries around Northeast Ohio, but greenhouse production is being held up by air — and COVID-19.

The Green Leaf Ohio marijuana processing facility in Middlefield Village is churning out gummies and THC oil syringes to supply medical dispensaries around Northeast Ohio, but greenhouse production is being held up by air — and COVID-19.

The second phase of the 75,000-square-foot structure has been completed with a glass roof to allow sunlight into the growing area, but it is missing the cannabis plants needed for on-site product.

Kate Nelson — community liaison for Green Leaf Ohio, chief operating officer for The Botanist, a medical marijuana and cannabis dispensary, and the force behind the construction — said in a phone interview May 20 the greenhouse is ready to go except for one essential element: its humidity, ventilation and air conditioning unit.

The salt-water-desiccant system pulls in the air from the facility, removes the humidity and adjusts the air temperature, creating an ideal environment for the cannabis plants, she said.

Unfortunately, the HVAC unit is half a world away.

“It was made in Turkey and the installer is in Turkey,” Nelson said, adding because of the COVID-19 travel restrictions, neither can come to the U.S.

The state-of-the-art equipment is very energy efficient, which is why she said she ordered that particular system.

“That’s very important to us. We want it to be energy efficient. Cannabis (production) is a huge draw on electricity,” Nelson said. “This is a unique situation.”

While she waits for the travel ban to be lifted, Nelson is buying the raw product from other sources to supply the processing facility in the front of the building on Madison Road just within Middlefield Village.

She has 10 workers now, about a 10th of the number she expects to employ once the greenhouse is populated with growing plants and reaches full production.

The highly specialized operation includes extraction rooms, a testing lab, packaging areas and a commercial kitchen in about 20,000 square feet. Maintaining safe social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis is not a problem, Nelson said.

“We’re easily able to space out. We may never see each other all day,” she said.

Production includes four flavors of all-natural gummies — red raspberry, mandarin orange, key lime and wild elderberry — Rick Simpson oil syringes for cancer patients and cartridges for vaping pens, all made from medical marijuana.

Nelson said the problems associated with vaping were the result of cartridges illegally produced and sold on the black market.

The contents sold through The Botanist are subject to rigorous testing by third-party labs in Ohio to ensure they don’t contain microbials, heavy metals or pesticides, she said.

Green Leaf Ohio also produces tinctures to help patients relax and rest. The sublingual oils are applied under the tongue.

“It’s like CBD oil. This is the THC version of the same thing,” Nelson said.

While the novel coronavirus has stalled her plant production, the stress people are feeling from staying at home, joblessness and general anxiety have been good for business, she said.

“We’ve seen a significant uptick in sales. The market has certainly grown a lot in the last year,” Nelson said.

She first presented plans to the village planning commission in the fall of 2018 and wants to give the facility better curb appeal.

Nelson has plans for the outside of the building, which is surrounded by a 10-foot-high no-climb fence, all designed to be secure.

Middlefield Village officials have said residents feel the structure is “intimidating,” she said.

“I’m making a landscaping plan to make it more appealing,” Nelson said, adding a wildflower meadow and foundation plants should help soften the appearance of the square, windowless block building.

But security is still a priority, since shipments are sent to The Botanist dispensaries in Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton on a variable schedule, Nelson said.

“We have a number of retired police officers working here. They are responsible for maintaining security for this facility and all our deliveries,” she said.

Green Leaf Ohio is actively hiring security personnel, as well as kitchen technicians and packaging workers, Nelson said.

So far, security has been excellent and the facility has only had one intruder. A loose horse came trotting down Madison Road and turned into the driveway just as a truck was pulling through the gate, she said.

“We managed to corner it and return it to its Amish owner,” Nelson said.

Source: https://www.geaugamapleleaf.com/news/green-leaf-cannabis-growth-stalled-gummies-in-demand/