Ohio must allow Cleveland medical marijuana dispensary to open, judge says – cleveland.com

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A Cuyahoga County judge has ordered the state to award a certificate of operation to The Botanist dispensary in Cleveland while Ohio and the medical marijuana company battle out a separate legal issue in a Franklin County court.

The Botanist, at 3865 Lakeside Ave., could open this week, said Kate Nelson, chief operating officer of Greenleaf Apothecaries, the company that owns the stores.

It unknown whether the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, the state agency that gives dispensaries the certificates of operation to open their doors, will appeal the ruling of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Nancy Fuerst. A board spokesman said he could not comment due to the ongoing legal proceedings.

The dispensary had not received a certificate of operation as of Monday afternoon.

Fuerst’s order states The Botanist passed an inspection March 6.

However, company representatives couldn’t submit its intent to operate and pay a fee for the two-year certificate of operation through the Board of Pharmacy’s online portal because it was blocked by the state.

“The board later revealed it would not issue a certificate of operation to the Cleveland dispensary because the board had concerns relating to the ownership of Greenleaf,” Fuerst’s order states.

The ownership question has to do with whether a Greenleaf deal in March with a large marijuana company, Acreage Holdings, is a management arrangement or represents a change in ownership. At risk for Greenleaf is its dispensaries’ licenses, which could be yanked by the state.

In June the board began an administrative proceeding to deal with the ownership issue, which has since ended up in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

Fuerst ruled that in the meantime, The Botanist has a clear right to a certificate of operation because it otherwise didn’t have an adequate remedy while waiting for the ownership

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