Medical marijuana harvest begins this week at Buckeye Relief in Eastlake

EASTLAKE, Ohio — Tucked behind a school bus farm off Curtis Boulevard in Eastlake, workers at Buckeye Relief are harvesting thousands of marijuana plants this week — one step closer to bringing medicinal marijuana to patients in Ohio by early 2019.

“They’re bigger than us,” CEO Andy Rayburn said, dwarfed by rows of nearly seven-foot tall marijuana plants. “Incredible.”

The crop of about 1,500 plants was planted on July 31, making them the oldest in the state of Ohio.

“It’s the healthiest, most robust crop I’ve ever seen in a cultivation facility, and a lot of people have said that, coming through,” Rayburn said.

After the plants are harvested, they will be sent off in mid-December for independent tests and approval as part of a state-mandated process, Rayburn said. Buckeye Relief, with its 25,000-square-foot facility, also has an in-house lab for testing their products.

The marijuana then returns to Buckeye Relief where workers will package and ship it to dispensaries, which will have it in stock the first or second week of January, Rayburn said. All of this harvest will be sold as flower, rather than processed into oils or edibles.

The patients will buy flower and do whatever they want with it,” Rayburn said. “They’ll perhaps put it into their own edible stuff, vaporize it. In another few months, there’ll be other companies that will process it into edible products and lotions and pills.”

State law allows medical marijuana dispensed as flower, oil, tinctures, edibles and patches.

Ohio law prohibits smoking cannabis, but vaping is allowed.

“Certainly, the first year of the program, the majority of sales will be flower,” Rayburn said.


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