Chided for diversity, Ohio gets female minority-led medical marijuana firm

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A Black woman is believed to be the first minority female to open a vertically integrated medical marijuana company in Ohio, marking a step toward a more diverse cannabis industry in the state.

Ariane Kirkpatrick, CEO and majority owner, recently launched Harvest of Ohio in Columbus, the state’s capital city.

The company also operates Harvest Grows and Harvest Processing, and its website lists two more retail locations “coming soon,” in Athens and Beavercreek.

Kirkpatrick’s opening of Harvest of Ohio comes at a time when legislators have been critical about the lack of diversity in the state’s legal MMJ industry.

“As a black businesswoman, I have overcome years of obstacles to arrive at this moment, entering this new and rapidly evolving cannabis industry,” Kirkpatrick said in an Aug. 20 news release.

“Our majority-minority partnership allowed my entire team to gain valuable insight required to commence operations. ”

She told Cleveland TV station WJW this week that her license was originally granted in 2017.

Medical cannabis sales in Ohio are projected to reach $350 million-$425 million this year, according to the 2021 MJBizFactbook.