Large Ohio medical marijuana grow licenses awarded
After months of waiting and speculation, state regulators have decided who will grow medical marijuana in Ohio.
The Ohio Department of Commerce on Thursday announced 12 winners of "level I" cultivation licenses for up to 25,000 square feet of growing space.
Members of and advisers to the winning companies include Cleveland businessman Andy Rayburn (Buckeye Relief), Columbus developer Bill Schottenstein (Pure Ohio Wellness), Gov. John Kasich's former spokesman Chris Schrimpf (Cresco Labs) and investors in Ohio's 2015 failed marijuana legalization campaign Chris Stock and Brian Kessler (Riviera Creek Holdings), according to records released by the commerce department.
One company, CannAscend, is already threatening to challenge the results. CannAscend members Ian James and Jimmy Gould, who co-founded ResponsibleOhio and the 2015 marijuana legalization effort, said they uncovered "significant problems" with the application process.
"Our legal experts have uncovered several fatal flaws, and more are expected to be uncovered through discovery," Gould said in a news release.
The businesses awarded the licenses are:
- Buckeye Relief LLC in Eastlake (179.28 points)
- Grow Ohio Pharmaceuticals LLC in Newton Township (173.44 points)
- OPC Cultivation LLC in Huron (173.28 points)
- Riviera Creek Holdings LLC in Youngstown (172.72 points)
- Pure Ohio Wellness LLC in Springfield (167.64 points)
- Columbia Care OH LLC in Mt. Orab (167.08 points)
- Terradiol Ohio LLC in Canton (165.48 points)
- Standard Wellness Company LLC in Gibsonburg (161.28 points)
- AT-CPC of Ohio LLC in Akron (161.28 points)
- Cresco Labs Ohio LLC in Yellow Springs (159.80 points)
- Parma Wellness Center LLC in Parma (153.08 points)
- Harvest Grows LLC in Hamilton Township or Cleveland (142.04 points)
The businesses have nine months to fully comply with state law and regulations and receive a certificate of operation after a state inspection. Applicants were awarded up to 200 points based on their business, operations, quality assurance, security and financial plans.
Eleven companies were chosen two weeks ago for level II licenses for up to 3,000 square feet. The Department of Commerce announced a 12th licensee on Thursday, Farkas Farms LLC in Grafton.
The late November award date means businesses will have to move quickly to set up shop, in some cases building multimillion-dollar facilities, in order to produce a first crop in time for the program's anticipated September 2018 start date.
Ohio's medical marijuana law allows people with up to 21 medical conditions to buy and use marijuana if recommended by a doctor. The law does not allow people to smoke marijuana or grow it at home.
State regulators have spent the last year establishing the rules and regulations for the restrictive program, including licensing marijuana growers, product manufacturers and dispensaries.
The department in June received 185 applications -- 76 for 12 tier II licenses and 109 for 12 tier I licenses for up to 25,000 square feet of growing space. Most of the applicants were clustered around Ohio's large cities. Marijuana businesses can't be within 500 feet of a school, library, church or playground.