Ohio medical marijuana firms seek expansion to meet growing demand

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Medical cannabis companies in Ohio, complaining that market growth is being constrained, are calling for more dispensaries and permission to expand cultivation facilities.

The complaints come as MMJ sales in the state reached the milestone of $100 million year-to-date, according to Columbus Business First.

Despite those numbers, Ohio MMJ sales are running at a pace less than half that of neighboring Pennsylvania, according to Cleveland TV station WEWS.

Pennsylvania, which has a similar population, launched its program in early 2018, while Ohio started sales in January 2019.

“Compared to a market like Pennsylvania, (Ohio’s medical marijuana program) is significantly behind where they are, and their program came online about the same time as ours,” Geoff Korff, founder of Galenas, which has a cultivation facility in Akron, told WEWS.

“There aren’t enough dispensaries (in Ohio), there aren’t enough access points. Folks that live in more rural locations sometimes have to drive upwards of an hour to get to a dispensary,” Korff added.

He wants to expand his cultivation facility but hasn’t received permission to do so.

Pennsylvania law allows more than double the number of dispensaries as Ohio (150 versus 60), although not all of Pennsylvania’s are open yet.

Ohio regulators told WEWS that the need for expansion is based on a number of factors, including population, number of patients and geographic distribution of dispensaries.

Ohio has only about half the number of registered MMJ patients as Pennsylvania does.

The new Marijuana Business Factbook projects Ohio MMJ sales will reach $175 million-$225 million this year, while Pennsylvania will hit $400 million-$500 million.