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Ohio Residents Spent $100M in Medical Marijuana So Far This Year



Ohioans have bought $100 million worth of medical marijuana so far this year, almost doubling what was spent in all of the program’s first year, and the nascent industry has added nearly 600 jobs despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Licensed dispensaries had sold more than $156.5 million worth of dried plant and processed cannabis extracts through July 20 since the first sales in January 2019, the Medical Marijuana Control Program reported, up from a cumulative $56 million as of December.

Dispensaries adopted curbside pickup for Covid-19 safety, reported the Board of Pharmacy, which regulates that arm of the program.

The industry had created 2,100 jobs statewide as of last month, a 21% increase since February as more facilities got the OK to open.

Cultivators had the most employees, with 1,900 between small and large-scale licensees; processors had 1,300 jobs, dispensaries 1,100 and testing labs 110.

The program has registered 116,500 patients, more than 91,000 of whom have made purchases; and 13,000 caregivers permitted to buy cannabis products.

Chronic pain remains the leading condition among patients. The Medical Board of Ohio recently added a new qualifying condition, loss of appetite caused by cancer treatments.

Both Central Ohio indoor cultivators and six processors have opened since the beginning of the year, according to Department of Commerce reports. The agency also this month opened a new application period to add to the state’s three testing labs.

Ohio Grown Therapies has a cultivator and processor in the same building in the Johnstown industrial park, across the road from a processor Kwen Extracts, the DBA of Solomon Cultivation Corp., owned by a New Albany entrepreneur.

Curaleaf Holdings Inc. has an option to acquire the Ohio Grown operations (but not its separate Newark dispensary) for $20 million, but that deal hasn’t closed. The Massachusetts company voluntarily surrendered a separate license it owned in southwest Ohio in June, because the state won’t allow it to own two processors.

Ohioans have bought $100 million worth of medical marijuana so far this year, and the nascent industry has added nearly 600 jobs despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Three more processing licensees have been granted a pause in seeking final inspection because of Covid-19, the Department of Commerce reported.

All but one of nine licensed dispensaries in Central Ohio are open, with the final two approved in Newark in January and February.

Just before Covid-19 struck, Harvest of Ohio LLC and Harvest Grows LLC had reached settlements with the pharmacy and commerce agencies that would have allowed it to open three dispensaries, including one in Clintonville, and a cultivator with attached processor in southern Ohio. There had been an ownership dispute related to the Ohio entities’ relationship to the owner of Harvest brand, a public Arizona cannabis company.

Harvest has not yet requested a final inspection to open the dispensaries, a pharmacy spokeswoman said. Commerce said it need to pay this year’s license renewal fees before seeking to open the cultivator.

The company declined to comment, citing terms of its settlement agreement.

So far Commerce has approved four ownership changes for cultivators and a lab. One, for Eastlake-based Buckeye Relief, involved only a small shareholder, a spokeswoman said.

A newly formed Akron company, Klutch Cannabis, took ownership in-state from Massachusetts-based Calyx Peak Cos. for an Akron cultivator.

Los Angeles-based MedMen last fall terminated an agreement to acquire Chicago-area PharmaCann LLC, which owns a cultivator in Buckeye Lake, to focus on its California market.



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