PharmaCann Suing Ohio Over Licensing to Fulfill Racial Quota

PharmaCann Suing Ohio Over Licensing to Fulfill Racial Quota

Pixabay / CQF-avocat / CC0 Creative Commons

For the third time in two weeks, Ohio’s medical marijuana program is once again at the center of controversy. PharmaCann Ohio, LLC, a medical marijuana company that failed to obtain a cultivation license in the state, has filed a lawsuit against the Ohio Department of Commerce over its alleged “racial quota.”

The department has come under fire recently for hiring an application scorer with a drug conviction on his record and another with an apparent conflict of interest.

According to, although PharmaCann was the 12th highest scoring licensing applicant, two lower scoring minority owned businesses, Parma Wellness Center, LLC, and Harvest Grows, LLC, were awarded licenses instead.

Parma Wellness Center ranked 14th and Harvest Grows ranked 23rd among potential licensees.

Under Ohio’s medical marijuana laws, at least 15% of medical marijuana business licenses must be awarded to “economically disadvantaged” groups. PharmaCann’s suit aims to force the department to disregard that mandate and instead award licenses to the highest scoring applicants.

“Our company values diversity and inclusion. Remedying the effects of past discrimination is a worthy goal of the Ohio legislature,” said Jeremy Unruh, PharmaCann policy director, in a statement. “In this case, however, there simply is no basis in evidence that economic disparity exists in an industry that itself doesn’t yet exist in Ohio.”

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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