Ohio’s medical cannabis cultivators can seek state approval to expand their operations as regulators at the same time plan to license additional dispensaries to serve the market.
The state announced Sept. 15 that it will grant expansion requests to growers that are in compliance with the program’s regulations, that are already using the maximum amount of cultivation space allowed and that demonstrate a need to expand their operations to meet demand.
Ohio has 20 licensed Level I cultivators that can grow up to 25,000 square feet of cannabis and 15 licensed level II cultivators that can grow up to 3,000 square feet, according to a Cincinnati Enquirer report.
The expansion would allow Level I cultivators to grow up to 50,000 square feet of cannabis, while Level II cultivators could grow up to 6,000 square feet.
The Ohio Department of Commerce will begin accepting and reviewing expansion requests on Oct. 1, and cultivators can only submit one expansion request during a 12-month period.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy approved an increased number of cannabis dispensary licenses earlier this year and plans to release its official Request for Applications Sept. 20 to kickstart the process of licensing 75 additional retailers, bringing the total number in the state to 130.
Both efforts to expand the Ohio’s medical cannabis program come after Fire Rock Ltd., a licensed cultivator in Akron, sued the state for failing to act on the company’s February 2020 request to expand, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“This decision comes after review of multiple program metrics, including patient program participation and the Board of Pharmacy’s impending request for new dispensary license applications,” Commerce Department spokeswoman Jennifer Jarrell told the news outlet. “The timing allows eligible cultivators ample opportunity to expand their cultivation capacity and production before the additional dispensaries become operational.”
There were roughly 125,000 patients enrolled in Ohio’s medical cannabis program as of July 31, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, which noted that the state’s original business license caps were based on a patient count of 24,000.