BETHEL TWP. — A representative of a medical marijuana cultivation operation coming to Bethel Township appeared at a township trustees meeting Tuesday night.
Jason Wilson, the owner of the facility and a Bethel Township resident, spoke about the operation and offered to take any questions from residents. No one had any questions or comments for Wilson during the meeting.
Wilson, the Chief Operations Officer of Paragon Development Group, said he is putting just over a million dollars into the level two growing facility at 9292 State Route 201. A level two cultivator is a small-scale growing operation.
Wilson added that he’s lived in the community since 2006 and his children attended Bethel schools.
“I’m established in the community and obviously I would not bring something here to hurt anyone’s property values,” he said.
The township trustees never placed a ban or moratorium on the cultivation, processing or dispensing of medical marijuana within Bethel Township, like many Miami County townships and cities when it first became legal in September 2016.
Because the facility is already zoned for light industrial use, no public hearing was required.
There will be no marijuana processing, laboratories or dispensing at the Bethel Township facility.
“There won’t be smells coming out of the place. There’s going to be hundreds of thousands of dollars in security there,” Wilson said, adding that Ohio has tough laws for medical marijuana cultivation.
Trustee Beth van Haaren said she was surprised that there were no questions for Wilson during the meeting, although the township’s Facebook post announcing the facility received a number of comments.
Van Haaren said the medical marijuana growing operation is a “legal, viable business” in the state of Ohio. She added that there will be no external signage indicating that marijuana will be grown there and that “most people will not even know it’s there.”
“It’s next to another industrial building, it’s kind of across the street from several industrial buildings. It was already zoned light industrial and in the state of Ohio marijuana needs to be grown, for whatever reason, in a parcel that is zoned light industrial,” she said.
Van Haaren noted that the building that will house the cultivation facility needed quite a bit of renovation and that it will need state approval before it can become operational.
“It is regulated like crazy in the state of Ohio, so I don’t think it will have any negative impact on our township or our residents,” she said.
She also added that she is supportive of locally owned business.
“I feel really strongly that local businesses strengthen your community. And I’d much rather have a local person doing this than, you know, a company out of Chicago or New York City,” van Haaren said.
The state’s laws regarding medical marijuana can be viewed at www.medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov.
Reach Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.