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The three medical marijuana dispensaries approved Monday by the state already have experience in other states in which marijuana is used for medical care.

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control program approved three dispensaries Monday: GTI Ohio LLC at 1920 Cooper Foster Park Road in Lorain; NMG Ohio LLC at 709 Sugar Lane, Elyria; and AFS Cultivation LLC at 603 Cleveland St., Elyria.

The three dispensaries will have a window of six months to become officially certified to operate. They will need to follow the requirements set by the state and be approved by a Board of Medical Marijuana Compliance Agent, according to the program’s website. Once certified, they can begin to sell medical marijuana to Ohio patients and caregivers under Ohio law.

GTI Ohio

Cleveland businessman Bobby George is leading GTI Ohio, which is part of an Illinois marijuana cultivator company.

GTI, also known as Green Thumb Industries, has cultivation centers based in Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The Ohio location will be GTI’s first dispensary, which George said will be an important next step in the company’s expansion.

Through GTI’s experience in other locations, the resistance from the community is only temporary.

“It’s a gradual growth in the industry, people get more comfortable as the industry goes by,” he said.

Mercy Health is barring the only two state-certified physicians in Lorain County from recommending medical marijuana. But, as more physicians are certified each month, by the time the dispensaries are operational, George said enough physicians may be available.

As more positive outcomes happen and patients have more success, George said public opinion likely will change. GTI also was approved for four other locations in Ohio, including Cleveland, Toledo and two in Lakewood. In total, the company applied for 12 Ohio locations.

NMG

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