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Local Companies Grow Their Marijuana Businesses

Ann Thompson
Rough Brothers sees growth for its 85 year old greenhouse business in the marijuana industry.

Tristate businesses are cashing in on the legalization of marijuana in other states and look forward to generating even more sales when Ohio growers and dispensaries are set up in 2017 or 2018.

Rough Brothers, Inc. in St. Bernard has been building and assembling greenhouses for nearly 85 years. Four years ago, the company started marketing to marijuana growers in Colorado, California, and Washington. Vice President Tom Vezdos says he goes to trade shows, advertises in trade magazines and also does Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on the Internet.

The pot industry is just 5 percent of Rough's greenhouse business, which sells not only the structure but the environmental systems to grow the plants (heating, ventilation, dehumidification, lighting). He says it's such a small portion of his business because of the inability of start-ups to get credit under federal banking laws for marijuana businesses. He says the sun is free and anticipates everybody will be going the way of the greenhouse.

Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
President of Pelican Technologies Gary Moore demonstrates his Plant Tracker RFID software to trace pot plants from seedling to sale.

Pelican Technologies in Dayton, and its Plant Tracker RFID software, is shooting for 10-20 percent of the annual domestic marijuana industry. The company, also a software provider in the security and transportation industries, will soon try to raise $750,000 for Plant Tracker to expand its product and hire sales and marketing employees.

President Gary Moore says Colorado law mandates each plant be tracked from seedling to sale. "You can hold the (RFID reader's) trigger down and it will differentiate, 'yes this is the one we're looking for or no this is the one we're not.'"

Plant Tracker Reports:

  • the plant's location
  • variety
  • whether it's for medical or recreation purposes
  • the strain
  • the THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)
  • the CBD (cannabidiol)

It's hard to know just how many companies are in the out-of-state marijuana business. Some start-ups don't want the banking industry to know so they can get loans. The Ohio Secretary of State's Office didn't respond to a WVXU request for a list of them.
A Cleveland.com article highlighted some of them.

1. Apeks Supercritical in Johnstown, Ohio extracts chemicals from marijuana. The business began getting essential oils and flavorings from lavender, spearmint and peppers. The company made $9 million in 2014 and 95 percent was cannabis related.

2. OdorNo in Rocky River, Ohio, created a new company, FunkSac (based in Denver) to block the marijuana odor in a child-resistant plastic bag. The company also makes larger transport bags for growing facilities.

3. iGrow in Beechwood, Ohio, makes grow lights.

4. Cannasure in Cleveland, provides insurance to pot growers, product manufacturers and dispensaries.