New bill would benefit prior license rejects

A bill poised to pass the Ohio Senate would overhaul the state's medical marijuana program, which began sales in 2019 to patients with about two dozen qualifying medical conditions.

A proposed expansion of Ohio's medical marijuana program would award cultivation licenses to processors that sued the state over previous denials, including one owned by a well-connected Cincinnati businessman with deep roots in the industry. 

The provision is just one part of a bill being considered by the Ohio Senate Wednesday that aims to revamp the program and allow doctors to recommend marijuana for any medical condition.

The measure raises questions about whether the bill provides a new path for certain processors to get licensed years after the Ohio Department of Commerce rejected their applications. 

For those businesses, though, the legislation offers the chance to grow their own marijuana instead of relying on plants from other companies to make edibles, patches and other products. 

"People who know what they’re doing and make good product are in a position to be able to benefit the patients and will clearly benefit from that," said Jimmy Gould, owner of CannAscend Ohio, which is among the businesses that would be granted a license under the bill.

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