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Article 24  Four Years After Legalization, Ohio Commits to Cannabis

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Photo Courtesy Cresco Labs

Terri Hardin

Trichomes Staff

Four years after legalization - and after two years of stagnant activity - the Ohio cannabis industry is finally ready to catch fire. This comes on the heels of an active 2019; coupled with the 2020 pandemic event, the pieces are now falling in place for 2021 take-off. 

In anticipation, Ohio’s cannabis companies are both realigning and squaring off. In May, Chicago-based Cresco Labs agreed to purchase four Ohio medical marijuana dispensaries from Verdant Creations, LLC, for $3.5 million. The deal takes advantage of a state government amendment that allows cannabis companies to own and operate up to five dispensaries (Cresco Labs already operates one). 

“Ohio is the seventh-most populated state in the country,” noted Charlie Bachtell, Cresco Labs CEO and co-founder. “It now has over 100,000 registered patients and experienced over 30% growth in average weekly sales from February to April. With our experience in Illinois and Pennsylvania, we think Ohio is on its way to joining these states as one of the strongest performing regulated cannabis programs in the country.” 

Elsewhere, multistate companies have divested their Ohio holdings. In July, AT-CPC of Ohio, LLC, formally separated from Massachusetts-based Calyx Peak Companies to rebrand under the name Klutch Cannabis. Also in July, Vancouver, CA-based Vireo Health reached an agreement to hand off all assets and liabilities of its affiliated company, Ohio Medical Solutions, LLC to Toronto-based Ayr Strategies Inc. for $1.15 million in cash and $3.7 million in Right of Use liabilities (totalling $4.85 million). 

While others’ divestments signal a preference for more “low-hanging fruit,” Cresco Labs’ move into the Buckeye State represents its comfort with operating in highly regulated markets like Ohio. “We expect to drive increased revenue growth and operating leverage in this limited license state,” Bachtell said.

Still lagging behind, however, is cannabis employment. According to Glassdoor, there are currently 86 job openings in Ohio, compared to 81 openings in July 2019. Ohio currently represents 2 percent of all U.S. cannabis job openings, compared to a mature market like California, which currently represents 1,234, or 27 percent, of new cannabis jobs.


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