EASTLAKE - Medical marijuana has been in the works for a long time in Ohio and now it’s a big step closer to availability.

Buckeye Relief in Eastlake has begun the first level 1 cannabis harvest in the state. Level 1 refers to scale, meaning 25 thousand square feet of marijuana. Beginning with the bill signed by Governor Kasich in 2016, to the construction of their 60,000 square foot facility, to the seed planting this past June, it’s been a long road.

“So much work,” says Carmen Fultz, the Cultivation Team Leader. “We started all these off with seeds and they all grew up to be these big beautiful plants that we see behind us.”

Those seeds have grown to 1300 fully matured plants, consisting of 50 strains. Despite their size and weight, the average 2 pound plant with only produce a few ounces of usable product after the stems, water weight and waste are tossed aside in the post harvest room.

Bryan Procuk, the Post Cultivation Director, says, “We focus on separating the buds from the waste. The stems and there’s a certain kind of leaf that’s the stereotypical marijuana leaf and that’s waste as well. It doesn’t have any potency on it.”

That waste has to be weighed, logged in a data tracker, mixed with 51% non-green waste, kept in a locked dumpster and picked up every day. Meanwhile, the buds are organized on trays and sent to dry in a humidity controlled room.

Buckeye Relief is hoping to have this first harvest ready to ship by mid January. However, they have 3 growing rooms in the facility, with a new one set to harvest every 3 weeks. Now that they’re cutting plants down instead of laying down bricks, they’re all elated that they’ve come so far, so fast.

“I can’t put that into words how happy I am right now,” says Fultz.

Procuk adds, “It feels great. It feels really good.”