EASTLAKE, Ohio -- It was a big day for a medical marijuana grow facility in Eastlake as Buckeye Relief employees were carefully harvesting their first batch of cannabis plants.
"We have over 1,300 plants to do this weekend," said Bryan Procuk, post cultivation director at Buckeye Relief.
The harvest process began Thursday after the adult cannabis plants had been growing since July of this year under the watchful eye of a team of cultivators.
"We bring down all the plants that have been flowering for the past nine weeks and we process them and begin getting the medicine ready for the patients," said Procuk.
The founder of Buckeye Relief was awarded the first level cultivator's license and said the marijuana being grown will eventually be available for patients with 21 qualifying medical conditions.
The Ohio legislature approved medical marijuana for the state in 2016.
"It's good for the people that are gonna need this medicine, so we're glad to be in the forefront of it,” said Eastlake mayor Dennis Morley.
But first, about 20 employees will work through the weekend to harvest the plants and begin the careful process of getting the medicine ready.
"At this phase, we are separating the buds from stems and they go off to dry and they come back and we trim them and package them later," said Procuk.
Buckeye Relief employees say cultivating the plants is a delicate process that must be sterile and conducted under strict rules.
"All the tools don't leave the facility, our scrubs don't leave the facility…any hats, anything all have to stay here, so when the employees come in, they literally go straight into the dressing room and get in their scrubs and come right back," Procuk said.
Eastlake's mayor said Buckeye Relief will be a financial boost for the city.
"We sold the property where they built the building here for 300-thousand dollars, 25-thousand dollars in licensing fees per year, with the 25 employees they hired so far, two percent income tax, property taxes that we'll start getting next year," said Morley.
"Our employees all have been educated and learn the process and even though it's the first harvest, they all feel and are pretty ready for this," Procuk said.