CINCINNATI – Just as Ohio is learning who its first medial marijuana growers may be, a local firm is threatening legal actions that could delay the state’s legal pot plans.
Downtown-based CannAscend is among dozens of firms that applied and were denied a license by Ohio to grow medical marijuana, an announcement made Thursday. More than 100 firms filed applications for just 24 licenses made available across Ohio.
CannAscend said it’s planning to file a lawsuit against the state for what it calls a “flawed” grading process used to award licenses. Among other allegations, the firm claims:
The state provided information to at least one applicant that was used to gain a competitive advantage. The state overlooked flaws — including missing documentation for background checks — in another winning application. One winning application has plans for a growing facility in a community that has moratorium in place for any medical marijuana venture.
The lawsuit, which has not been filed, will include other applicants that share CannAscend’s concerns, said the firm’s CEO James Gould, who had pitched plans for a growing facility in Wilmington, Ohio.
“Whether we end up with an license or not, that’s not what this is about,” Gould said. “I care that this process was broken. I care that there should have been better oversight over this process, and I care where this ends up.”
According to Ohio’s Department of Commerce, which will regulate the state’s licensed growers, CannAscend’s application was disqualified for failing to land a minium score in all of the key areas graded: Facility security, operational plans, financial plans and quality control plans.
“The Ohio Department of Commerce conducted a comprehensive, fair and impartial evaluation of all applications,” said Stephanie Gostomski, a spokeswoman for the department. “It was a very competitive process and we understand that anyone who didn’t receive