Ohio News Briefs


Staff & Wire Reports

FILE - In this Sept. 20, 2018, file photo, marijuana plants sit under LED lights inside the Veg Room, in Eastlake, Ohio. Buckeye Relief LLC, one of Ohio's large-scale medical marijuana cultivators, expects to sell the state's first legal pot to licensed dispensaries sometime in December. (AP Photo/David Dermer, File)

FILE - In this Sept. 20, 2018, file photo, marijuana plants sit under LED lights inside the Veg Room, in Eastlake, Ohio. Buckeye Relief LLC, one of Ohio's large-scale medical marijuana cultivators, expects to sell the state's first legal pot to licensed dispensaries sometime in December. (AP Photo/David Dermer, File)

Grower expects to provide Ohio’s 1st medical pot in December


Associated Press

Tuesday, October 2

CLEVELAND (AP) — Stepping into the small vestibule, visitors are immediately struck by a slightly musty, slightly skunky odor that provides a redolent clue about what’s happening there.

The next clue: An employee takes your identification from behind bulletproof glass and doesn’t give it back until you leave.

Welcome to Eastlake-based Buckeye Relief LLC, the first large marijuana cultivator granted permission by the state to begin growing pot for Ohio’s fledgling medical marijuana industry. The company expects to harvest Ohio’s first legal marijuana at newly built, multi-million dollar state-of-the-art facility sometime in December.

Visitors allowed access to Buckeye Relief’s equally secure growing rooms must wear plastic Tyvek suits to prevent plants from being contaminated. Employees don medical scrubs before entering.

“I’m at the front end of a fascinating and exciting business,” majority owner Andy Rayburn said last week. “The bottom line is, it is actual, helpful medicine. The stories are in abundance.”

The Ohio Legislature approved the creation of a medical marijuana program in June 2016. The law allows residents with at least one of 21 qualifying medical conditions to obtain a doctor’s recommendation to buy marijuana at state-licensed dispensaries. While Ohio missed its Sept. 8 deadline for having medical marijuana available, officials think the program should be operational by the end of the year.

Ohio is among 30 states that now have some form of legalized marijuana.

Buckeye Relief planted its first seeds July 31. After three weeks, 3-inch seedlings were transferred to a vegetation room, where they remained for another three weeks before being placed in one of the facility’s three “adult” rooms after reaching about a foot high. Individual injectors connected to the building’s water room feed each plant with prescribed amounts of water and nutrients.

It’s in the adult rooms where female plants will eventually flower under the warm glow of adjustable LED light bars. Male plants, meanwhile, are removed and destroyed as soon as they’re identified to prevent them from pollinating the females and causing them to produce unwanted seeds. Female plants as they mature are essentially tricked into believing it’s the end of the growing season and produce flowers containing the plant’s highest concentrations of marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.

State law allows for marijuana flowers to be sold with a THC content of 35 percent. Rayburn said he’s never heard of marijuana of that potency produced anywhere. Buckeye Relief expects its buds to have THC contents of between 10 and 30 percent, depending on the strain.

The flowers are dried and cured before being sold to dispensaries. Trimmed material from the flowers, along with some leaves, are pressed and distilled to produce an oil used to make edibles and other products such as CBD extracts. Buckeye Relief has applied for a processing license to create those products in-house but has yet to receive state approval.

Buckeye Relief is in the experimental stage of its operations. Seeds from around 140 strains have been planted with a goal of reducing the number to what employees say will be 20 to 30 “very good” strains. The expectation is that Buckeye Relief will provide dispensaries with many of the popular strains sold in the cannabis meccas of California and Colorado.

The company’s chief technology officer is Ed Neimeier, a top-rated systems analysis expert who said his job is to help Buckeye Relief grow cannabis of the highest quality through testing and experimentation. Neimeier, like all but one of the company’s first 17 employees, had never previously worked in the cannabis industry but was hired by Rayburn for his expertise other fields. Neimeier has previously worked in the automotive and steel industries.

“I’d never seen a live pot plant until last summer,” he said.

Buckeye Relief plans to sell its first harvested buds to the small number of dispensaries that are expected to have opened by December. The company’s plans also will depend on Ohio having its patient registration website up and running by then.

Rayburn had enjoyed considerable success running businesses and investing his own money in various ventures like minor league baseball teams when he got a call in early 2015 from a close friend dying of cancer. The friend told him he had just smoked marijuana for the first time in his life and after months of enduring the debilitating effects of opioids while in hospice care, was able to once again eat, sleep and not feel miserable.

Today, Rayburn, 63, sits on the cutting edge of Ohio’s fledgling medical marijuana industry after spending millions of dollars of his and his investors’ money in the belief that growing cannabis will not only yield profits, but will also provide much-needed help to people who find doctors willing to recommend the drug for them.

“It was moving,” Rayburn said of his friend’s experience with marijuana. “I’ve heard this story so many times since then. Even old ladies trying it for the first time.”

Troopers seize $800,000 worth of heroin in Madison County

Ohio State Highway Patrol

October 4, 2018

WEST JEFFERSON – Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers filed felony drug charges against a California man after a traffic stop in Madison County. During the traffic stop, troopers seized more than 4 pounds of heroin valued at approximately $800,000.

On September 28, 2018, at 1:15 p.m., troopers stopped a 2018 Kia Forte with Florida registration for a failure to signal a lane change violation on Interstate 70. Criminal indicators were observed and a Patrol drug-sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle. A probable cause search revealed the contraband.

The driver, Estaban Contreras, 20, of Oxnard, Calif., was incarcerated in the Tri-County Jail and charged with possession of heroin, a first-degree felony.

If convicted, he could face up to 11 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.

Last year, troopers removed 163 pounds of heroin from Ohio’s roadways. For a complete list of drug arrests by county visit: http://www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/statistics/statdocs/Highlights/2018/Drugs.pdf

Put-in-Bay Village Officials Indicted

(PORT CLINTON, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Ottawa County Prosecuting Attorney James VanEerten, and the Ohio Ethics Commission announced that two Village of Put-in-Bay officials have been indicted by an Ottawa County Grand Jury on public corruption charges stemming from a joint probe into public corruption allegations within the village. Misdemeanor charges were also recently filed against two other current and former village officials pursuant to this joint investigation.

Bernard Mack McCann, 82, the Put-in-Bay Mayor, was indicted on the following charges:

Two counts of Having an Unlawful Interest in a Public Contract, felonies of the fourth degree

Four counts of Conflict of Interest, misdemeanors of the first degree

Kelly A. Niese, 49, of Put-in-Bay, former Village of Put-in-Bay Fiscal Officer, was indicted on the following charges:

One count of Theft in Office, a felony of the third degree

One count of Grand Theft, a felony of the fourth degree

Melinda McCann Myers, 52, of Put-in-Bay, the former President of Put-in-Bay Village Council, was recently charged with six counts of Conflict of Interest, misdemeanors of the first degree.

Bernard Michael McCann, 54, a member of Put-in-Bay Village Council, was recently charged with four counts of Conflict of Interest, misdemeanors of the first degree.

Mayor McCann is alleged to have used his position as mayor to secure waterline project contracts for a business associate.

Niese is alleged to have disbursed village funds to herself without authorization of village council.

Councilmen McCann and McCann Myers are alleged to have voted on contracts in which they had personal interest, as well as contracts in which family members had a personal interest. They are also alleged to have voted on matters that would have benefited their personal businesses and family members.

The allegations arise from a joint criminal investigation conducted by the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and the Ohio Ethics Commission. The case is being prosecuted jointly by the Ottawa County Prosecutor and the Ohio Attorney General’s Special Prosecutions Section.

LCV GreenRoots Program in Record Number of States for 2018

October 4, 2018

Member mobilization effort on the ground in 14 states to get out the vote for pro-environment candidates

Washington D.C.- The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) announced today that its grassroots member mobilization program, GreenRoots, is up and running in 14 key states to help elect environmental champions up and down the ballot. More than 40 organizers are on the ground, and LCV members have already completed hundreds of voter contact shifts. The program is currently active in Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. LCV members will knock on tens of thousands of doors, make hundreds of thousands of calls, and text voters to help elect pro environment candidates as part of the coordinated membership mobilization program.


Robert D. McCrie to Discuss Prison Reform Oct. 15 at Ohio Wesleyan

DELAWARE, Ohio – Robert D. McCrie, Ph.D., professor of security management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, The City University of New York, will discuss “Prisons: A Failed Institution” Oct. 15 at Ohio Wesleyan University.

A 1960 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, McCrie will speak at 4:15 p.m. Oct. 15 in Benes Room B of Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. His presentation is free and open to the public.

McCrie, who became interested in criminal justice as an OWU student, works daily on reform issues. He has visited about 200 correctional programs in 12 different countries and currently is organizing the 2022 Global Congress for Correctional Change.

His expertise is in security management, history of crime and countermeasures, police procedures, and history of corrections. His research focuses on security industry practices and standards, utility of corrections, prison, jail, probation, and parole trends.

McCrie’s books include “Of Crimes and of Punishments” (forthcoming), “Security Operations Management” (2016/third edition), and “Readings in Security Management: Principles and Practices” (2002). He also is the founding editor-in-chief of Security Journal and remains an editorial board member.

At John Jay College, McCrie teaches courses in criminal justice, American legal history, security management, protection management systems, and more. He previously served as chair of the college’s Department of Law, Police Science, and Criminal Justice Administration from 1997-2003.

In addition to graduating with his Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio Wesleyan, McCrie holds a Master of Arts from Hunter College, a Master of Science from the University of Toledo, and his doctorate from The City University of New York (CUNY).

McCrie’s Ohio Wesleyan presentation is sponsored by the Andy Anderson Symposium Fund, Department of Philosophy, social justice major, and Students for Decarceration.

Learn more about McCrie and his work at www.jjay.cuny.edu/faculty/robert-d-mccrie. Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Philosophy at www.owu.edu/philosophy and social justice major at www.owu.edu/socialjustice.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

The Conversation: Academic rigor, journalistic flair

2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: a turning point in the war on cancer

October 2, 2018


Duane Mitchell

Professor of Neurosurgery, University of Florida

Disclosure statement

Duane Mitchell holds patents related to brain tumor immunotherapy that have been optioned and/or licensed by Celldex Therapeutics, Inc., Annias Immunotherapeutics, Inc., Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc., and iOncologi, Inc. He is the co-founder of, iOncologi, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on cancer immunotherapy treatment. He serves as an advisor for Bristol-Myers Squibb, Inc., Tocagen, Inc., and Oncorus, Inc. He receives funding from the National Cancer Institute, Department of Defense, and several private foundations focused on brain tumor research and immunotherapy treatment.


University of Florida provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.

There are moments in the history of scientific achievement that benchmark the end of an era and the beginning of a new phase of reality for mankind.

The significance of these inflection points is sometimes readily apparent. NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first step onto the surface of the moon on July 20, 1969, marked a new phase of space exploration. Other advances take many years for the historical significance to manifest, with an impact that appreciates over decades. That was the case with the development of the mechanized clock of the 15th century and the invention of the telephone in 1876.

Attempts to rid people of their cancer burden date back to 1600 B.C. when the disease was first recognized. But the idea of using a patient’s own immune system to eliminate aggressive cancers is more recent. Nobel laureate Paul Ehrlich first postulated that the immune system might control tumors more than 120 years ago. Since then, researchers have tried to boost the immune system to wipe out cancers.

This week, the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo for discoveries that have led to new medicines that activate the immune system and drive it to fight cancers. These therapies can defeat even the deadliest malignancies.

Allison and Honjo have revolutionized our understanding of how the immune system recognizes tumor cells and have created a paradigm shift in clinical oncology that will likely alter how we treat cancer for the foreseeable future.

Standard weapons for fighting cancer

Nobel winner James Allison talks about the impact of his invention.

To date, our best tools for treating aggressive cancers that have spread beyond the range of curative surgery have been radiation therapy and systemic chemotherapy agents.

For the most part these treatments kill rapidly dividing tumor cells by damaging their DNA or disrupting other essential cellular processes. This has led to most of the significant treatment advances we have achieved in terms of long-term survival in patients with advanced cancers.

I believe that soon cancer immunotherapy will equal, or rival, the impact of radiation and chemotherapy for patients diagnosed with cancer.

To understand the significance of Allison and Honjo’s discoveries, one must appreciate researchers have been trying to rally a powerful immune response against tumor cells for the past century. Prior to Allison and Honjo’s work, researchers believed that aggressive cancers grew unchecked because the immune response was too weak. The consensus was that if one could stimulate the immune system, it would respond and destroy the invasive tumor cells.

Immune checkpoints

Allison and Honjo, however, made a critical leap when they characterized two very important and potent pathways – called “immune checkpoints” – that can shut down the immune response. These pathways inhibit T cells – white blood cells that are charged with destroying virus-infected cells and tumor cells – and prevent them from “seeing” and attacking the tumor.

Allison and Honjo identified and characterized two different proteins, called CTLA-4 and PD-1, respectively, that sit on the surface of T-cells. When these proteins interact with matching proteins on tumor cells or other immune cells – the way a key fits a lock – the T-cells fall into “sleep mode” and don’t attack the tumor.

In many patients with cancer, these CTLA-4 and PD-1 pathways shut down anti-tumor immune activity. Without immune surveillance, the tumors grow and spread. This meant that our early attempts to activate the immune system were like trying to drive a car with the brake pedal pressed to the floor. No matter how we tried, or stepped on the gas, the brakes thwarted any progress.

But Allison and Honjo’s research led to the development of a new type of drug: monoclonal antibodies that block the regulatory pathways controlled by CTLA-4 and PD-1. These drugs, called immune checkpoint inhibitors, basically attach to the CTLA-4 and PD-1 proteins and prevent them from switching off the T-cells. These new antibody-drugs have led to dramatic tumor regressions. The results are so impressive that the FDA has approved their use for a variety of advanced cancers such as: metastatic melanoma, lung cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, head and neck cancers, and other tumors.

A new arsenal of checkpoint inhibitor drugs

The excitement surrounding cancer immunotherapy is due, in no small part, to the fact that these new medicines are revolutionizing how we treat advanced malignancies in which chemotherapy, surgery and radiation have failed. Furthermore, cancer immunotherapy has already become the preferred first option treatment for some cases of metastastic melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. It is currently being evaluated as the first line option over traditional chemotherapy in other cancers.

CTLA-4 and PD-1 represent only the first two well-characterized immune checkpoints among an expanding list of targets that have been identified on immune cells and are believed important for modulating T-cell tumor fighting.

There are more than a dozen immune checkpoint inhibitors that have already entered clinical development and there are endless possibilities for combining these new inhibitors with those that have already been shown to improve clinical responses in treated patients.

See how the immune system destroys tumor cells with cancer immunotherapy therapy.

The risks of unleashing the immune system

Although immune therapy is a breakthrough, it is not without risks to the patient. Taking the brakes off of the immune system can trigger undesirable and in some cases deadly consequences for patients treated with drugs. The killing power of the immune system is tightly regulated to protect normal cells from attacks that can damage critical tissues. Removing the brakes with immune checkpoint inhibitors can cause damaging inflammation in the skin, gut, heart, lungs and other vital organs. These risks can add up when these potent inhibitors are combined. And, the long-term side effects of immune checkpoint inhibition are not fully understood.

While the clinical responses to these treatments can be dramatic, long-term tumor regressions are achieved only in a minority (usually less than 20 to 30 percent depending on the tumor type) of treated patients. Also, the use of the PD-1 and CTLA-4 checkpoint inhibitors has not proven effective against all tumor types. In our own studies of malignant brain tumors, my colleagues and I have identified unique properties that make them resistant to immunotherapy and have begun to identify strategies for overcoming this treatment resistance.

Thus, we have much still to learn and significant room for improvement in order to maximize the benefits of immunotherapy for all patients. Nonetheless, we have definitively entered a new era of clinical medicine with an accelerated progress in oncology treatments.

More than one in three individuals will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. Despite our continued advances in cancer prevention and early detection, a significant proportion of these individuals will be faced with advanced disease. With continued rapid progress building on Allison’s and Honjo’s pioneering discoveries, it is increasingly likely that a patient’s own immune system will prove the most effective strategy and final defense against an advancing and relentless malignancy.

FILE – In this Sept. 20, 2018, file photo, marijuana plants sit under LED lights inside the Veg Room, in Eastlake, Ohio. Buckeye Relief LLC, one of Ohio’s large-scale medical marijuana cultivators, expects to sell the state’s first legal pot to licensed dispensaries sometime in December. (AP Photo/David Dermer, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/10/web1_121498771-cdcec36b1fc842f7bd207798e36e6da8.jpgFILE – In this Sept. 20, 2018, file photo, marijuana plants sit under LED lights inside the Veg Room, in Eastlake, Ohio. Buckeye Relief LLC, one of Ohio’s large-scale medical marijuana cultivators, expects to sell the state’s first legal pot to licensed dispensaries sometime in December. (AP Photo/David Dermer, File)

Staff & Wire Reports