Over 180 companies submitted applications to become medical marijuana cultivators in Ohio, and their names are just as punny as you’d expect. Kim Armstrong
Jimmy Gould, right, founder of CannAscend Ohio, and Bob Carp, a member of CannAscend’s legal team, at a press conference Friday.(Photo: Provided)
A group of Cincinnati investors who planned to build a marijuana production facility in Wilmington is vowing to sue the state over the selection process that sent their dreams up in smoke.
The Ohio Commerce Department on Thursday announced it had granted 12 “Level 1” licenses for medical marijuana growers with up to 25,000 square feet of growing space. But the state denied the application of CannAscend Ohio – a local company headed by Jimmy Gould, Bill Brisben and Ian James.
According to the state, CannAscend did not meet the minimum score for a Level 1 cultivation license based on the assessment of application reviewers.
“The Ohio Department of Commerce conducted a comprehensive, fair, and impartial evaluation of all applications,” the agency said in a statement.
Gould, founder of ResponsibleOhio – the group behind Ohio’s failed Issue 3 marijuana initiative in 2015 – claims the more than 100 applications that were submitted were put in hands of just three unqualified application graders and bureaucrats with little or no oversight.
The selection process “was a glorified essay writing contest,” Gould said during a press conference Friday morning at CannAscend’s headquarters Downtown. “I am disgusted with what has happened here.”
CannAscend had planned to buy about 19 acres near Wilmington Air Park to build a large marijuana farm, but the deal was contingent on the investment group securing one of the 12 licenses.
“This is not sour grapes,” he said. “It’s not about us getting a license.