The expansion process comes as the state plans to more than double the number of dispensaries to sell medical marijuana and after Akron-based cultivator Fire Rock Ltd. sued the state for failing to act on its February 2020 request to expand.
Fire Rock appealed through the administrative review process. But after Wednesday’s announcement, the issue could be moot.
“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 said in an email. “The timing allows eligible cultivators ample opportunity to expand their cultivation capacity and production before the additional dispensaries become operational.”
Ohio has licensed 20 cultivators who can grow up to 25,000 square feet of marijuana and 15 cultivators that can grow up to 3,000 square feet. State rules allow licensees to expand to 75,000 square feet and 9,000 square feet, respectively, but didn’t outline a process for requesting expansion.
“We’re not hidden anywhere, and we did that somewhat intentionally,” said CEO Geoff Korff. “This is an industry where we don’t feel like we need to hide or apologize for anything. This is the thing that’s coming, that’s going to be good for everybody.”
You notice Galenas right away if you’re driving down Main Street on Akron’s east side. It’s a modern, pyramid-shaped building with a wood-paneled façade, half a mile down the street from Bridgestone’s Akron tire center, nestled among car repair shops and surrounded by houses.
“No one’s making money,” Korff says. “Everyone built these facilities with the expectation that the market in Ohio was going to start slow and grow over time. But it doesn’t happen overnight, and there’s a lot of misconceptions that everyone’s making millions, and we’re just printing money, and it’s not the case.”