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Medical Marijuana Faces Setback in Ohio


Nov. 20 2020, Updated 1:04 p.m. ET

On September 11, the State Medical Board of Ohio refused to include anxiety disorders and the autism spectrum in Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program. This decision is in line with the State Medical Board of Ohio committee’s announcement on August 14.

According to the Cleveland.com press release, in the committee meeting, four physicians expressed concerns about the possible harmful effects of medical marijuana for anxiety disorders and autism spectrum indications. These physicians have associated long-term cannabis use with panic attacks and aggravated anxiety symptoms. They also highlighted the possibility of undesirable side-effects on children’s developing brains and livers.

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Other problems facing the Ohio medical marijuana industry

According to Marijuana Business Daily, the Ohio Medical Cannabis Cultivators Association has expressed disappointment about this decision. It could hold back the medical marijuana industry in Ohio, which is already battling the problem of limited demand.

Another Marijuana Business Daily report explains that more than 42,000 patients had registered in Ohio’s medical marijuana program by July 24, 2019. However, only half of these patients were purchasing cannabis. This finding is due to a limited supply of medical marijuana resulting in steep prices. Ohio is also among the states that have reported lung illnesses from vaping to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To learn more about the vaping crisis facing the cannabis industry, see Vaping Warning by CDC Should Worry Cannabis Players

Aside from these problems, several other challenges are facing the cannabis industry overall. See Cannabis Industry: FBI and FDA Tighten the Screws for more analysis.

However, despite these setbacks, there remains significant scope for growth in Ohio’s medical marijuana market.

Medical marijuana opportunities in Ohio

Marijuana Business Daily reports that Ohio is the third-fastest-growing medical marijuana market in the US. It also estimates average daily medical marijuana patient growth in Florida at 282.

According to Curaleaf’s second-quarter earnings call, Ohio is the seventh-most-populous US state with 11.7 million residents. Registered medical marijuana patients account for 0.4% of the state’s total population. Marijuana Business Daily also expects annual medical marijuana sales in Ohio to reach $400 million in the coming years.

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These companies are making a mark in Ohio’s medical marijuana market

On August 23, the Ohio Department of Commerce awarded a medical marijuana cultivator license to Green Thumb Industries (GTBIF). This license bolsters the company’s position in the Ohio market. And it also brings the total number of licensed medical marijuana cultivators in Ohio to 31.

Besides the cultivation license, Green Thumb Industries also owns one processing license and five retail licenses in Ohio. The company already operates three dispensaries, and it plans to add two more over the coming quarters.

The 12 Wall Street analysts tracking Green Thumb Industries have an average target price of 24.72 Canadian dollars on the stock. To learn more about valuation and price targets for the company, check out Green Thumb: Lower Target Price, Higher Valuation Multiple.

Curaleaf (CURA)-(CURLF) is also targeting Ohio’s nascent medical marijuana market. On January 11, the company announced its selection for receiving a provisional medical cannabis processor license from the Ohio Department of Commerce. On May 6, the company also announced its entry into a definitive agreement for an option at a consideration of $20 million. The option gives Curaleaf the right to acquire Ohio Grown Therapies’ licenses for cultivation and processing of medical marijuana in Ohio. The option also allows Curaleaf access to Ohio Grown Therapies’ Johnstown facility. To learn more about the deal, see What’s behind Curaleaf’s Gains?

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Ohio regulators rule in favor of Greenleaf Apothecaries

On August 26, regulators in Ohio ruled in favor of Greenleaf Apothecaries (GRLF). Regulators instructed the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy to grant an operating medical marijuana dispensary license to the company—despite a dispute about a change in the company’s ownership. Greenleaf Apothecaries came under fire when the Ohio Board of Pharmacy called it out for transferring ownership without state approval.

According to partner Acreage Holdings’ second-quarter earnings call, Greenleaf Apothecaries has three completed dispensaries waiting for regulatory approval in Ohio. The company also has two operating dispensaries in the state. Plus, Greenleaf Apothecaries is also building a processing facility. The facility should become operational in the fourth quarter of 2019. Greenleaf’s cultivation facility is also expected to become operational in fiscal 2020.


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