Over 180 companies submitted applications to become medical marijuana cultivators in Ohio, and their names are just as punny as you’d expect.
Kim Armstrong/The Enquirer

An Ohio judge is set to hear final arguments Monday morning in a lawsuit that could delay some medical marijuana growers from getting their product to market in Ohio.

The lawsuit, filed in March, seeks an injunction banning the state commerce department from issuing certificates of operation to 12 businesses that have already received provisional licenses to grow weed in Ohio.

But the companies must have their grow operations inspected and be certified to operate in the state before they can begin cultivating marijuana for sale to people with chronic illnesses through licensed dispensaries.

Under the law, the marijuana program is mandated to go live by Sept. 8.

But the lawsuit would prevent Level 1 growers — large growers with operations up to 25,000 square feet — from even having marijuana on site until the state hears appeals from unsuccessful applicants contesting how the provisional licenses were awarded.

­­The plaintiff, Ohio Releaf, is one of 53 unsuccessful applicants for Level 1 licensees who have requested Chapter 119 administrative hearings with the state commerce department, which awarded the licenses.

Ohio Releaf’s attorney, Jeff Lipps, told the court Friday that his client would suffer irreparable harm if the state were allowed to proceed with the certification process because once the provisional licenses were certified they would “begin to evaporate” and “could never be retrieved.”

More: Medical marijuana: These are the Ohio doctors who can recommend medical weed for their patients

By law, the state was limited to issuing 12 Level 1 licenses and 12 Level II licenses for small growers with up to 3,000-square-foot operations before Sept. 8.

The small growers would not be included in the injunction and could proceed to certification. But the small growers don’t have sufficient capacity to meet the anticipated needs of the medical marijuana program on their own.

The law allows for additional licenses to be issued after Sept. 8, based on the as yet unknown size of the population seeking …read more