Former Akron Factory Becomes Medical Marijuana Processing Facility

Aug 19, 2019

Minneapolis-based Vireo Health has received the go-ahead from the state of Ohio to open Akron’s first medical marijuana processing facility.

The publicly traded company will operate its subsidiary, Ohio Medical Solutions, from a former factory building on Tallmadge Avenue in North Akron. The renovated facility now houses a state of the art manufacturing operation with high-tech security.  

Marie Walchalk will lead the newly operational company.
Credit JENNIFER CONN / WKSU

According to General Manager Marie Walchalk, a Portage County resident, Akron was an attractive location for the processing facility.

“It’s centrally located, it’s an area that we’re trying to grow and develop,” she said. “The company saw that the Akron area is very dedicated to bringing in businesses and utilizing buildings that are vacant. They saw that as a really good opportunity that this area is growing.”

Vireo will start out manufacturing pharmaceutical-grade oils and vegan gel caps to distribute to licensed dispensaries around the state.

Additional products, such as cannabis-infused beverages and vape fluids, will be explored based on the demands of the Ohio market, Walchalk said

The company plans to work with local vendors as much as possible, including to buy plant material. Akron is home to three marijuana cultivators.

“We do want to support local businesses,” Walchalk said. “We strongly believe in that as a company. We are looking at some local cultivators to supply us and we’re working on those relationships right now. There’s a lot of options for us.”

The company is looking to hire about 20 employees locally, including security guards, biochemists and sales associates, and expects to add more as the business grows.

With licenses to operate in nine other states and Puerto Rico, this is Vireo Health’s first foray into Ohio.