Harvest Health settles Ohio medical marijuana dispute for $500,000

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Marijuana multistate operator Harvest Health & Recreation must pay a $500,000 to settle a social equity misrepresentation charge from Ohio regulators before it can open three medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.

The penalty, one of the largest ever assessed to a marijuana operation in Ohio, settles the allegation that Arizona-based Harvest misrepresented the minority ownership of a medical cannabis operation in the state, The (Cincinnati) Enquirer reported.

Harvest officials said last July they were working with Ohio regulators to resolve the allegations.

Harvest of Ohio put on its dispensary application that Ariane Kirkpatrick, a locally based African American businesswoman, controlled and owned 51% of the company.

But when state regulators reviewed documents, they found the top management duties were being handled by Steve White, the CEO and co-founder of Harvest, according to The Enquirer.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy charged that Harvest “committed fraud, misrepresentation or deception” on its application.

Ohio had required 15% of all medical marijuana licenses in the state to be awarded to minority-owned and -controlled businesses.

In 2018, a judge ruled the state’s quota was unconstitutional.