Multistate marijuana 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 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.