EAST PALESTINE — A company interested in locating its medical marijuana cultivation facility in East Palestine has received the go-ahead from the state after winning an appeal of its original license rejection.

Village Manager Pete Monteleone confirmed on Thursday that Pure OH, LLC won the appeal and will now be moving ahead with plans to construct and operate a facility at the privately owned property on Kemple Road off Bacon Avenue.

It is the only company in the county to receive a cultivation license.

Pure OH is a subsidiary of Pure O&M (Operations and Management) of Denver, Colo., which manages facilities in Puerto Rico, Colorado, New York and Florida.

Pure O&M partner Gregg Holtzman presented the company’s plans to the village a few times over the course of last year while it was seeking the cultivation license through the state.

Monteleone said Holtzman contacted him on Thursday to announce a provisional license has been awarded.

“We are excited to press forward,” Monteleone said.

Ohio Department of Commerce spokeswoman Stephanie Gostomski said Pure OH was not originally awarded a Level II cultivator license because it did not receive the minimum qualifying score on the security question of its application, although it did receive an overall score that would have qualified it for a license had it not been for the security score.

She explained the company scored an 11 and it needed a minimum score of 12 for the security portion of the application.

However, Pure OH requested an administrative hearing, which was held in February, and showed that the application included elements that should have resulted in additional points in the security section.

Gostomski said the hearing showed “abundant proof” that the company did in fact have what was required to meet the minimum score.

The company was able to demonstrate that its plan for the facility contained various security transportation (including certain vehicle lockbox and certain GPS features), vehicle insurance and fencing matters for which it was not awarded points, she explained.

“Our director agreed and they were issued a provisional license (Wednesday),” she said.

Pure OH was one of 65 other applicants that requested an administrative hearing to appeal rejection of licenses, according to a Cleveland Plain Dealer report on Thursday.

With the provisional license awarded, Pure OH now has nine months to get the facility ready for operation.

Gostomski said that once the company has constructed the facility and is ready to grow medical marijuana, it must contact the department of commerce, which will inspect the facility and award a certificate of operation if the facility adheres to what was proposed in the application.

The company can begin cultivating medical marijuana as soon as the certificate is awarded.

Holtzman told the village last year that the plan is to build a 7,500-square-foot office and processing building, with a 3,000-square-foot greenhouse initially, with potential for more greenhouses later.

The facility is estimated to cost $2.5 to $3 million to build.

All growing and processing would be done inside to comply with state law, and nothing made at the facility would be available to East Palestine residents.

Holtzman has said the company plans to use local contractors for the construction, and even hire local for the future jobs at the facility.

kwhite@mojonews.com Originally published July 20, 2018