Local group says Ohio's medical marijuana licensing process has "run amok"
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A Cincinnati-based company, which did not win a medical marijuana cultivation license, says the state of Ohio's award process was deeply flawed. The company, Cannascend, plans to sue.
On Nov. 30, the state gave a dozen large-site licenses, including one to an out-of-state company which plans a cultivation facility in Mt Orab in Brown County.
Company chair Jimmy Gould says there were 10 problems with how the state evaluated the applications "What I never thought would happen was that the people handling the rules and the regulations would allow this thing to run amok in the way it did. So, we're not accepting their decision. We're expecting that our lawyers, and we have multiple lawyers and multiple groups represented, so you're not just talking to Cannascend, you're talking to a lot of people who are highly qualified. We are asking for a complete review and oversight.
"What happened with the level one cultivation licenses yesterday was a travesty,” said Gould.
Gould said there are at least ten flaws in the state's selection process, including a “dubious” scoring procedure.
“This was a system driven into the ground by questionable experts tasked with grading the applications, managed by an out of touch bureaucracy that has mismanaged this entire process,” said Gould.
One of Cann-Ascend's attorneys said he successfully challenged site awards in Massachusetts, getting more than half of the winners disqualified.
Attorney Bob Carp said there are plenty of problems in Ohio’s process as well.
“I'm of the opinion, based on the fact of doing over 1,000 applications and having written the category best-seller on Amazon on marijuana licensing, that the graders truly didn't know what they were doing and it gets even worse,” said Carp. “If you look at it with even the most cursory knowledge you can see it's nothing but poorly written fiction.”
Gould says the issue here is not Cannascend. Even if they don't get a license after a lawsuit, he says, if the process is redone properly, that's fine.
“At the end of the day you come down to a really core question, who's qualified to produce the product the patients are going to need?” said Gould
Gould says his company will not stop until there is a fair process, whether his company ultimately gets a license or not