Judge orders pharmacy board to let cannabis dispensary open in Cleveland – The Columbus Dispatch


A medical marijuana company won the right to open a dispensary in Cleveland even as the state investigates allegations that the company violated dispensary ownership laws.

A Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge ordered the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to issue a certificate of operation to Greenleaf Apothecaries, which has two dispensaries operating in Ohio and another three in the works, including the one in Cleveland.

The Ohio-based company is accused of secretly selling its dispensaries to New York-based cannabis company Acreage Holdings. State law bars medical marijuana companies from selling dispensaries until they’ve been open for at least a year. Ohio’s first dispensary opened in January.

In July, Greenleaf requested a temporary restraining order to block the board from releasing documents in the case. The board is barred from commenting or providing records of its investigation until a judge rules on the restraining order, meaning the nature of the ownership probe is unclear.

The pharmacy board declined to give Greenleaf an operating license for its Cleveland dispensary even after the facility passed an inspection in March, citing the ongoing investigation, court records show. The company stands to lose all of its licenses if the state finds that it broke the law. The pharmacy board has a hearing on the case scheduled for Sept. 16.

In a complaint filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, Greenleaf sought a writ of mandamus to force the board to allow the company to open its Cleveland dispensary. It argued that Ohio law requires the state to issue an operating license to every dispensary that passes an inspection, and the ongoing investigation does not give the board grounds to deny that license.

In court documents, the pharmacy board countered that a dispensary also must prove that it can operate according to the plans outlined

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