Two license applications from companies seeking to locate medical marijuana dispensaries in Highland County were among nearly 400 received from across the state for 60 licenses that will eventually be issued. The deadline for applications was last Friday.
Companies calling themselves “Debbie’s Dispensary Ohio 4” and “Ohio Biotherapy LLC” were the only two applications received seeking to locate a dispensary in the district that includes Highland, Brown and Adams counties. No applications were filed seeking to locate dispensaries in Brown or Adams.
In regard to dispensary licenses, Highland County is part of what has been designated District 6 in the Southwest region of the state, grouped with Adams and Brown counties. One dispensary license has been set aside for the three-country district.
In a business filing with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, Ohio Biotherapy LLC provided an address of “108 Governor Trimble Place, Unit No. 102,” which is adjacent to the offices of The Times-Gazette in a space currently leased by a gunsmith. The property is owned by Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings.
Hastings said Wednesday he was approached recently by representatives of a company who were interested in leasing the space, but his understanding was that it ultimately did not qualify for a marijuana dispensary because it was located too close to a church.
State law says medical marijuana dispensaries cannot be located within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground, public park or community addiction services provider.
Hastings said he was told that the company instead found a property along West Main Street beyond the uptown district.
“I’m surprised they have the Trimble Place location listed on their business filing,” said Hastings. “In fact, though, I was approached about a number of locations I own, but none of them were suitable” for dispensing medical marijuana under the state restrictions.
In an interview in June, Hastings said he was not enthusiastic about medical marijuana being grown in Highland County, but was less concerned about the product being dispensed here.
Ohio Biotherapy originally incorporated on Nov. 13, then updated its filing on Nov. 15 in a “fictitious name” filing in which it changed its name to “Biological Therapies” and provided the Trimble Place address. The company is listed as “Ohio Biotherapy LLC” on the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program’s list of the 370 applications received by last Friday’s deadline.
According to a description on the Secretary of State’s website about fictitious name filings, “Fictitious names are not required to be distinguishable upon the records from any other previously registered name. However, a fictitious name provides no protection because other registered names are not required to be distinguishable from a fictitious name.”
The other application seeking to locate a dispensary in Highland County was by “Debbie’s Dispensary Ohio 4 LLC,” which lists a company address in Westlake, Ohio. Companies do not have to be located in the county in which they seek to dispense medical marijuana. In fact, five separate articles of incorporation were filed on Oct. 18 by “Debbie’s Dispensary.” No single company is allowed to own more than five dispensaries in the state.
The incorporation articles do not appear to indicate an address where the “Debbie’s Dispensary” store would be located in Highland County. In both applications requesting dispensaries in Highland County, the only individual names associated with their business filings are agents or attorneys from outside the area, rather than those who would actually operate the companies.
As previously reported by The Times-Gazette, Hastings, city council President Lee Koogler and Law Director Fred Beery all said last week that no one had expressed concerns and no council members had brought up the subject or suggested legislation to oppose allowing dispensaries in Hillsboro, as has been done in numerous communities around the state.
Greenfield Village Council recently attempted to pass emergency legislation banning licensed marijuana cultivators, processors or dispensaries from locating in Greenfield. The ordinance did not gain enough support to pass as an emergency.
There is no timetable for the licenses to be awarded. The Ohio Department of Commerce and the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy “are required by law to take all actions necessary to ensure that Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program is fully operational no later than September 2018,” according to state guidelines.
Applicants were required to submit a $5,000 fee, a detailed business plan, floor layouts, and outline their security arrangements, along with proof of financial solvency and stringent background checks for employees.
Under the state’s new law, Ohioans with one of 21 medical conditions can legally buy and use medical marijuana if it’s recommended to them by a physician.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.