Level II growers are allotted 3,000 square feet to grow. They can potentially expand to 9,000 square feet in the future. Level I growers have up to 25,000 feet to grow. Nineteen Level I growers have provisional licenses and 14 Level II growers have provisional licenses. Ten cultivators have certificates of operation.
Ohio Department of Commerce spokeswoman Jennifer Jarrell said there is no expansion available at this time and that’s why the requests were denied in June.
“The program is still developing and the director has yet to request submissions for expansion,” Jarrell said in an email to this newspaper. “However, once the market has matured and the discussions surrounding the need for expansion become more focused the (Department of Commerce) would review data from the inventory tracking system, which may include both individual licensee data and program-wide data.”
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Morgan said Ohio Clean Leaf saw the number of medical marijuana patients growing and wanted to be able to expand to serve them. More than 78,000 patients signed up in the first year of the medical marijuana program and another 31,000 registered during the first five months of 2020.
“We wanted to get ahead of the game before that patient population explodes, because we feel that it is going to expand exponentially,” Morgan said.
Morgan said he respects the Department of Commerce’s decision, but thinks it could hurt the business.
“I understand that there needs to be a process, but I believe for the Level II growers to be able to compete in the market we need to be able to expand,” Morgan said. “The program was designed to let you expand. If there is a demand for our product and we haven’t had any compliance issues, I don’t see why they wouldn’t let us expand.”
Morgan said that he can only see how his business is doing, he doesn’t have access to how other growers are doing statewide.
“The state regulators, they have access to the statewide inventory report,” he said. “So from the state’s regulatory standpoint, they can see maybe some people are sitting on tons of product, which we are not, so it’s hard to say (if we’re an outlier in this issue.)”
Ohio Clean Leaf is in the process of building a lab to make processed medical marijuana products. Morgan said he is worried that, the way things are right now, they won’t be able to grow enough material to process.
“We’ll have to seek material from other cultivators,” Morgan said. “We’re a little nervous about that. None of this stuff is cheap to do.”