Ohio lawsuit: Regulators ‘punting’ on medical marijuana program expansion

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An Ohio medical marijuana grower filed a lawsuit against state regulators alleging that government overseers have been hamstringing the MMJ program’s growth, despite clear demand for more business services.

According to Law360, Fire Rock sued the state Department of Commerce over its failure to either grant or deny an application filed in February for the cultivation operation to expand its capacity by another 3,000 square feet.

The agency notified Fire Rock in June that it was taking no action on the application, which led the company to sue on the grounds that the department has a clear responsibility to act one way or the other on the application.

The department is “attempting to confound an otherwise clear and unambiguous administrative code section in an effort to block any further expansion of the Ohio medical marijuana program,” Fire Rock asserted in its lawsuit.

“Colloquially, this is referred to as ‘punting’ on the actual issue presented,” according to the filing.

Ohio’s medical marijuana program has been beset for months by complaints from both operators and registered patients, who point to product shortages, a lack of dispensaries and high prices.

The situation has led many Ohio medical marijuana patients to buy their cannabis in Michigan, a nearby source of adult-use MJ products.