Cannabis grow facility sparking concerns with some Pike residents


PLEASANT HILL — Residents of the village of Martinsburg are speaking up against the possibility of a marijuana craft grow facility opening within walking distance of their homes — the fight, to keep what they’ve worked for years: working toward a peaceful view of rural Pike County. 

“If the board approves it, I will sell my home and move out of Pike County … if they will do it here, they will do it anywhere,” said Jeff Ruzicka, who lives fewer than 200 feet from where the proposed cannabis craft facility could be. 

Ruzicka, a retired schoolteacher, has lived at his house with his wife, Misha. for the past 26 years and bought it for the peace and quiet so they can grow their food and enjoy the rural life, especially after a liver transplant. 

But, when learning that 10 acres of land was bought in sight of his back porch and the possibility of a cannabis craft grow, infuser and transportation facility was proposed, he took to the county board. 


During Monday’s Pike County Board meeting, when the vote to change the zoning of land from agriculture to business was slated to take place, Ruzicka said asked board members “would you want it in your backyard?”.

“If they pass it, they can building anything,” Ruzicka said, adding that what they’re proposing has changed over time and that he feels that Ganja Thai LLC would need to build a larger facility to house what the company is projecting. 

The proposed craft grow facility would be located at 17766 County Highway 11 in Pleasant Hill and has a building that is 3,240 square feet in size. The zoning change was tabled during Monday’s meeting due to the application not being complete, and it was not clear the stated plans for the possibility of future buildings. 

“It’s still missing data,” Pike County board Chairman Jim Shepparrd said. “It’s all on the applicant’s shoulders right now,” he said. 

Sheppard said that it’s unclear if the owner is planning to build a building that would range from 5,000 to 15,000 square feet. 

“They’ve given three different sizes,” he said. 

Other concerns that Ruzicka expressed is that if a growing facility is approved, lighting would be a hindrance to the dozen homes within the village, in addition to parking lights and traffic of trucks to what the company is stating it would bring in revenue to the county.

“My estimate, they would need at least four buildings,” he said. “That whole area would be lit up like a shopping mall,” adding that representatives said that lights would be motion sensor activated and only on for 13-hours and that wild animals would trigger the lights during the night.  

The process for growing marijuana consists of one to two weeks of germination, where seeds are encourages to grow to sprout; then two to three weeks of seedling, where seeds are moved to the growing stage where lights are used; two to eight weeks for the vegetative process, where plants require flowing dry air, fresh warm water and increased nutrients, especially nitrogen; then six to eight weeks for flowering, where light is gradually reduced to produced to increase phosphorous levels and decrease nitrogen with fertilizers that help bud formation. 

“If they build that, who’s going to work there,” Ruzicka said. 

Retired English teacher Bob Ring, also against the proposed location, is concerned of the people that will be working at the location. 

“If trimming marijuana is all they can do then they can leave the county,” Ring said of his concern of the youth getting involved in addition of attracting other workers from areas outside of Pike County. 

Trevian Kutti, a consultant for Ganja Thai and based out of Georgia, said the location will not be a dispensary and it will only be used to grow cannabis that would be sent to dispensaries.

“This would be $3.6 million a year in tax revenue for the county,” Kutti said, adding that Pike County wasn’t a random location and that there will be no retail sale of marijuana at the location. 

Additionally, Kutti said that it would have about 20 employees and, if approved by the state to have additional craft licenses, it could employ more at that time and adding buildings. 

“Expansion would be dictated on licensing,” she said. “We’re just selling the flowers to the dispensaries. The only traffic would be workers.”

For Sheppard, who said that he hasn’t directly asked other board members their thought whether in favor or not, he feels that: “If I was a betting man, it will be denied,” regarding the zone change. 

As of Friday, the item to vote on the zoning change had not been added to the April 25 county board meeting agenda. 



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