Cannabis companies Harvest Grows and Harvest of Ohio have inked a settlement to open a cultivation site, a processing facility, and three dispensaries in Ohio. Harvest Grows is majority owned by Ariane Kirkpatrick and minority owned by Harvest Health & Recreation CEO Steve White. Ariane Kirkpatrick is also the majority owner of Harvest of Ohio.
Harvest Grows and Harvest of Ohio first received provisional licenses pursuant to a social equity provision in Ohio’s marijuana law designed to remediate past injustices and promote equality in the emerging industry. Shortly thereafter, however, Harvest Grows was subjected to protracted litigation defending the constitutionality of the diversity provision against unsuccessful applicants.
At the conclusion of the litigation Ohio then raised concerns about the entities’ claim that they were majority owned by a member of an “economically disadvantaged group.” The subsequent investigation postponed opening the facilities.
During the investigation, Harvest of Ohio also successfully defended against attacks seeking to obtain confidential and proprietary trade secret information it provided to the Board of Pharmacy. The present settlement fully resolves these issues and brings the parties to an orderly resolution.
As part of the settlement, Harvest of Ohio has agreed to make a $500,000 donation to the Ohio prescription drug reporting database. In return, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy will permit Harvest of Ohio to open its dispensaries in Beavercreek, Columbus, and Athens. Harvest Grows’ settlement with the Ohio Department of Commerce allows the cultivator to open a 25,000 square foot grow operation. The cultivation facility and dispensaries are expected to obtain certificates of operation and open their doors within the week. The settlement also allows the Department of Commerce to award Harvest Processing a provisional processing license for a plant in Ironton.
Alex Howe, Head of Corporate Communications, stated the “companies are pleased to have resolved their differences with both the Board and the Department. Harvest of Ohio and Harvest Grows believe that a strong state regulatory framework is essential to the success of our industry to create and maintain consumer and patient confidence in the safety and efficacy of the medical cannabis markets.”
Mac Murray & Shuster is proud to have represented Harvest Grows and Harvest of Ohio throughout the entirety of these proceedings, and to bring the full weight of our regulatory experience to bear for our client. Our firm is a member of the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (“NAMWOLF”) which actively promotes equality and equity in the legal space. We are happy to have worked for similar inclusion efforts in Ohio’s marijuana industry. Harvest Grows and Harvest of Ohio’s successes are a win for Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program as a whole, and we hope this outcome will lead to decreased product prices and increased patient access for Ohioans.