(This story was updated with a comment from a state official.)
The Ohio Supreme Court told state regulators they could not simply ignore requests to expand facilities for medical marijuana growing.
In an eight-page ruling, the Ohio Supreme Court ordered regulators to either approve or deny Fire Rock’s February 2020 application for expansion or expansion of the Akron cultivation facility.
Fire Rock’s application to double its 3,000-square-foot facility came at a time when the Ohio MMJ program was suffering from product shortages and high prices.
State regulators had defended a decision not to respond to the application, arguing that Ohio law prohibited farmers from filing an extension application of their own accord.
But the Supreme Court called it a “flawed legal theory”.
The court stated that while the relevant state rule “restricts the frequency of a cultivator submitting an extension application, it does not prohibit a cultivator from submitting an application of his own volition.”
The court also said that the Ohio Department of Commerce has a “clear legal obligation to either approve or deny a cultivator’s application.”
Fire Rock had requested an expansion, saying it couldn’t grow enough marijuana to meet customer demand.
The company’s application included not only a floor plan and proposed construction schedule, but also sales forecasts and letters from pharmacies wanting more products.
A state spokesman wrote in an email to Marijuana Business Daily on Friday that “Commerce (Department) has not yet made a decision on the expansion proposal but will now, according to the Supreme Court decision.”