The Ohio Department of Commerce awarded seven provisional medical marijuana processor licenses Aug. 3 to applicants who met the minimum requirements of the state’s application.
The licensees are:
- Ohio Grown Therapies, LLC (Johnstown, Licking County)
- Fire Rock Processing Ltd. (Columbus, Franklin County)
- Ohio Green Grow LLC (Toledo, Lucas County)
- Greenleaf Therapeutics, LLC (Middlefield, Geauga County or Willoughby, Lake County)
- Grow Ohio Pharmaceuticals, LLC (Newtown Township, Muskingum County)
- Standard Farms Ohio LLC (Garfield Heights, Cuyahoga County)
- Corsa Verde, LLC (Columbus, Franklin County)
Greenleaf Therapeutics applied multiple times with different locations, and now has 10 days to choose its location.
Medical marijuana processors can be vertically integrated or standalone facilities, and there will be plant-only processors, as well, which are cultivators that distribute plant material directly to the state’s dispensaries.
“There are five different plans in the application,” Stephanie Gostomski, the department’s assistant director of communications, told Cannabis Business Times. “There’s a business plan, an operations plan, a quality assurance plan, a security plan and a financial plan. Each has its own score, and then there are conversion factors applied to it to have a final weighted score, if you will. They must meet the minimum requirements in each of those plans to receive a passing score to get a provisional license, meaning if you had a great score in business operations and quality assurance, but you didn’t meet the minimum requirement in the financial plan, you were disqualified.”
Other factors include background checks, which are conducted for all employees listed on the application, Gostomski added. “You could have the highest score—you could have a perfect 200—but if one of your employees has a background check that comes back and doesn’t meet the provisional standards, you’re not going to get a provisional license,” she said.
Six additional applicants may be eligible for provisional licenses in this first round, but tax and/or background checks are still pending. “We’ll be awarding those on a rolling basis as soon as we receive that information,” Gostomski said. “Those checks are done outside the Department of Commerce, and to not push back this announcement, we wanted to get these out there.”
A second round of review and licensing will take place for applicants who need to include additional clarifying information on their applications, and these will be scored and awarded separately. “At this time, we’re just really at the beginning stages of that,” Gostomski said.
The department can award up to 40 processor licenses by law, she added, so if the six additional licenses are ultimately awarded in this first round, there will still be 27 licenses available to be awarded in the second round and any subsequent licensing rounds.
Winners of the provisional processor licenses have six months to build out their facilities and become operational (cultivation licensees have nine months). To ultimately receive a final certificate of operation, all provisional licensees will need to demonstrate compliance with all state regulations, including local zoning requirements, and submit to an inspection by the Department of Commerce.
“We’re just excited to have another component of this program announced,” Gostomski said. “We’re excited that we have a new pool of businesses that met the requirements to become a licensee to move this program forward, and right now our focus remains on ensuring that there’s a patient-centered, safe program to provide the product needed for Ohioans that meet the requirements of qualifying conditions.”
Three cultivators have received final certificates of operation in the program, Gostomski said, and the Department of Commerce has been in constant contact with those licensees to stay up-to-date on their status. Although the medical market in Ohio was set to launch on Sept. 8, Gostomski said it depends on when product becomes available.
“It’ll really depend on their harvest cycle,” she said. “We can’t talk about products until we talk about harvest. We have eight more businesses that are on deck in August to receive their inspections, as well, so I think we’ll have a better understanding of what fully operational will mean for the program in the coming weeks.”
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