Johnstown economic boost after marijuana denial

A big blow to Johnstown last year when a local business wasn’t granted a marijuana grower’s license from the state. The village had been banking on the economic boost.

But, that exposure may have put the small town in the limelight and attracted other businesses.

Village leaders spent two and a half years working with local business Apeks in preparations for a “marijuana campus.” The company makes devices that extract botanicals and planned for a growing and distribution operation.

They had intended to expand and buy the neighboring 31 Gifts building which had been vacant for two years.

But Apeks was denied a growers license.

“For him not to get one was pretty devastating,” said Village Manager Jim Lenner.

Because Johnstown was the first community in Ohio to embrace the marijuana movement, it was noticed by other businesses. The former 31 Gifts building, which Apeks had to back out of, was just bought a company called Ohio Packs.

Developers are putting buildings on two adjacent properties as well, confident they’ll attract more manufacturing. One will house a marijuana cultivation operation.

The village is also partnering with the Licking County Port Authority to build a 140-acre business park on the opposite side of town on Duncan Plains Road.

“We all want those commercial, manufacturing jobs to bring our general fund revenue up,” said Lenner.

Johnstown’s population is growing as well. Lenner says it will move from a village to a city after the next census in 2020.

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