Harvest of Athens medical marijuana dispensary officially opens
Harvest of Athens, the city’s first medical marijuana dispensary, opened Monday morning.
The location is one of three Harvest of Ohio locations, with others in Columbus and Beavercreek. The Athens site organized a soft opening September 15.
Harvest of Ohio was licensed in 2017 and opened its first location about three years later. The company is patient-centered and philanthropic, with the goal of “giving people real control over their health and well-being through access to quality products, education, resources and support, ”according to its website.
Inside, Harvest of Athens houses a check-in hall and a product floor, which is only accessible to patients. Products for sale include sprays, topical ointments, edibles, concentrates, and flowers, with various strains available. The products are also available on their website.
A patient advisor looks after customers at all times, helping to assess individual needs and recommend products to meet them. A separate room exists for those who wish to discuss their needs in a more private setting.
“We’re very, very people-oriented, we’re very conversational in our training,” said Amonica Davis, director of operations for Harvest of Ohio. “We talk a lot about getting to know our patients on a more personal level in terms of what brings them to our store and just sharing our story and listening to their story. Ours is not a clinic, it is rather a place of encouragement, advice and help to meet the needs of our patients.
Majority owner and CEO Ariane Kirkpatrick is the first owner of a vertically integrated cannabis business in Ohio, which means the company controls all aspects of the production and distribution process. This includes a culture center and processing facility, in addition to dispensaries.
Harvest’s cultivation center in Ironton reopened on June 30. The company plans its first harvest at the end of December. Currently, their dispensaries sell cannabis products from 11 vendors across the state.
The dispensary is the 56th to open in Ohio since marijuana was legalized for medical purposes at the state level in 2018. However, Kirkpatrick is the first minority woman to be licensed by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy to grow, distribute and process medical marijuana. .
“I had to stay in this fight, because I care about people,” Kirkpatrick said. “I care about the patients we are going to serve. I care about being here in Athens, Ohio, Columbus, and Beavercreek. It is a market in which I can and must be. It is representative of our community.
Medical marijuana is legal in Ohio for people with conditions such as cancer, chronic pain, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Tourette’s syndrome and more, according to the Ohio Marijuana Map . website. Individuals must have a state-issued medical marijuana card to purchase products.
“I have been deeply involved in trying to make Athens home to a dispensary, which is so needed in our region,” said Mayor of Athens Steve Patterson. “It’s so needed, not just here in Athens County, but throughout the Southeastern Ohio region.”
Before Harvest Athens opened, the nearest dispensary was located in Logan, about a 30-minute drive from Athens.
“There are a lot of local doctors here who have prescribed treatment for their patients and so they were very grateful that they could come right next door – within 5 (or) 10 minutes – to receive their products, their medications,” he said. Davis said.
Local client Dave Neal is a caregiver for his wife, who has cancer and uses medicinal marijuana for pain relief. Neal expressed his enthusiasm for opening a local dispensary so he wouldn’t have to travel so far to get supplies.
“We all drive to Logan, Marietta, or Jackson… It’s so much more convenient because I live, literally, five minutes from here,” Neal said.