Economic Development

Region’s First Marijuana Processing Licenses Awarded

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A provisional medical marijuana processor’s license has been awarded to an East Liverpool company that had earlier been approved for a dispensary.

FarmaceuticalRX LLC was granted one of the 40 provisional processor licenses that state intends to distribute as it rolls out its medical marijuana program.

Eleven licenses have been issued since Aug. 3, when the Ohio Department of Commerce began awarding processing credentials. Two other companies received licenses on Aug. 16 and a single license was issued on Aug. 31.

FarmaceuticalRX was the sole company to receive a processor’s license on Sept. 7. Two months ago, the company was awarded a license to dispense medical marijuana from a business address listed as 1865 Dresden Ave. in East Liverpool, according to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program’s website.

Two other local companies, Quest Wellness II Youngstown and Green Leaf Medical of Ohio II LLC in Warren, were awarded dispensary licenses in July.

The control program’s website lists 95 companies that have applied for processor licenses, including Riviera Creek Holdings II of Youngstown, which is retrofitting a building along Crescent Street into a medical marijuana Level I cultivation facility.

Among the other local interests applying for processor permits are Quest Wellness Ohio III LLC, Mahoning Valley Manufacturer, Pure OH LLC in East Palestine and MD Processing LLC of Youngstown and Warren, according to state data.

Processors convert the marijuana plant into products such as oils, tinctures and chewables that can then be distributed with prescription at retail dispensaries throughout the region.

House Bill 523, which legalized the use of medical marijuana in Ohio for people with select medical conditions, became effective in September 2016. The state has since approved 14 Level I cultivator licenses and 17 Level II permits.

Initially, the program was supposed to be fully implemented by Sept. 8, but the roll out has been delayed without any indication of when it would be completed. The slow pace of the program’s development has led to criticism from state lawmakers who say that the needs of patients are not being met.

“I continue to be incredibly disappointed in the slow and inefficient rollout of Ohio’s medical marijuana program,” said state Sen. Kenny Yuko, D-25th, of Richmond Heights and Senate Minority Leader, in a statement. “It is unacceptable that patients who have been waiting for their quality of life to improve for the past two years will have to continue to wait.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.