COLUMBUS — One day after Ohio announced its choices for larger growing sites that would fuel a fledgling medical marijuana industry, a legal challenge was announced that could throw a wrench into the works.
Ironically, such a lawsuit would be filed by some of the chief players behind 2015’s failed ResponsibleOhio ballot initiative that would have legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use.
“Whether we end up with a license or we don’t end up with a license, that’s not what this is about…” said Jimmy Gould, chairman and chief executive of CannAscend Ohio. “I care that this process is broken. I care that there should have been better oversight over this process, and I care where this ends up….
“They delayed it so long,” he said. “…Unless they’ve already been digging into the ground, which is a different issue, how are you going to dig into frozen ground in January and February and have product in stores and dispensaries by September of 2018? That’s near impossible.”
He said he suspects that the process was intentionally delayed in order to push the opening of a medical marijuana market in Ohio beyond the November, 2018 election, when governor and other statewide offices are on the ballot.
House Bill 523, the law legalizing medical marijuana, currently mandates the program be up and running by Sept. 8.
The lawsuit, which Mr. Gould said will be filed soon, seeks to preserve all records and communications used by the Department of Commerce in reviewing and scoring more than 100 applications received for larger-scale cultivator licenses.
On Thursday, the department announced its selection for 11 such licenses, including one in Gibsonburg. Standard Wellness Co. plans a growing facility in the village’s Clearview Industrial Park.
Standard’s application received a score of 161.28 points out