Sanctioned for Samples: Ohio Cannabis CEO Facing Suspension
Tony Lange | Cannabis Business Times

Sanctioned for Samples: Ohio Cannabis CEO Facing Suspension

David Haley, the top executive for cultivator and processor Ancient Roots, had his employee license suspended by the state’s Department of Commerce.

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January 19, 2022

The CEO of Ohio-based medical cannabis cultivator and manufacturer Ancient Roots LLC has been cut off from his company’s facilities and record books by the state’s Department of Commerce (DOC).

David Haley, who founded the company in 2018, had his employee license suspended by DOC last week, roughly two months after department officials first began investigating accusations by regulators that Ancient Roots was giving out samples of cannabis grown at his facility, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

DOC officials allege that Haley provided free cannabis products to visitors at his Wilmington facility, just northeast of Cincinnati. The sampled product had been intended for retail distribution, and Ancient Roots’ records inaccurately showed those samples remained in the company’s processing inventory after Haley allegedly gave them away.

Under rules, regulations and guidelines set forth by Ohio’s Board of Pharmacy, and the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program—following Ohio voters’ approval of Issue 3 in the November 2015 election, and subsequent passage of House Bill 523 by the state Legislature in September 2016—handing out free samples of cannabis is prohibited. The sample ban applies to those licensed by the state program, but also to events, expos, job fairs, parties and the like.

After Ancient Roots passed its final inspection in November 2018, the company began operating as a tier-2 cultivation license holder—the smaller of two license types—meaning it was limited to 3,000, 6,000 and 9,000 square feet of cultivation space during its first three years of operation.

Under a proposed medical cannabis expansion bill in Ohio, tier-2 license holders would be able to expand their operation to 20,000 square feet, while tier-1 licensees would be able to expand from 25,000 to 75,000 square feet.

RELATED: Ohio Republican Aims High With Medical Cannabis Expansion Bill

As of November 2021, Ancient Roots was one of 27 Ohio operators to hold an annual cultivator license issued by the DOC’s Medical Marijuana Control Program.

The company’s licenses are still active, according to the Enquirer. Haley’s suspension is indefinite, but he can request a hearing to challenge the decision, the news outlet reported