Rec pot petition in Ohio; Feds seek research on Schedule I drugs; New $25 million cultivation facility in metro Detroit

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It’s an old sign, but maybe it’s a good one for cannabis in Ohio?

Ohio Attorney General and Ballot Board authorizes petition to allow for adult-use market

The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in recent weeks won approval from Ohio’s Attorney General and Ballot Board to circulate a statewide petition for a statute to allow adults in the state to grow, consume, and purchase marijuana. 

Ohio’s existing medical marijuana program, enacted in 2017, generated $387 million in sales last year. The state initially awarded 24 cultivation licenses to grow as much as 25,000 square feet and 58 retail dispensaries. Earlier this year, the state announced plans to award an additional 73 dispensaries.  

Multiple multistate operators including Chicago-based Cresco Labs and PharmaCann and New York-based Columbia Care operate in Ohio. Cresco CEO Charlie Bachtell last week told Grown In that he anticipates Ohio to allow for adult use consumption in 2022 and adult-use sales in 2023. 

While eight of the existing medical dispensaries in Ohio are minority-owned (a relatively high figure compared to nearby Illinois, which has a similar regulatory framework), earlier this month lawmakers held a press conference to draw attention to the state not having a larger composition of minority-owned cannabis businesses.

Biden drug czar recommends more research on pot and mushrooms

Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy Regina LaBelle earlier this month presented a proposal to congress that would allow Schedule I substances including cannabis and psilocybin to be researched for their medicinal properties. 

As part of an effort to “reduce the supply and availability of illicitly manufactured fentanyl-related substances,” LaBelle told congress that existing Schedule I substances that don’t appear to have high potential for abuse should align more closely with “the research registration process for Schedule II substances.”

Cannabis industry leaders and advocates of the plant’s perceived healing properties have long pointed to a prohibition on federal research as a barrier to commercial innovation. More recently, individual and institutional investors in the burgeoning psychedelics space, which includes psilocybin (the active ingredient of “magic mushrooms”) and Ketamine, are betting that the removal of generations-old barriers to federal research will yield advancements in treatment of conditions including addiction and PTSD. 

Chicago-based Palo Santo, recently announced that it had raised $35 million to invest in psychedelic startups, and already has positions in 24 portfolio companies. Palo Santo co-founder Daniel Goldberg will co-host an online educational event next month focused on psychedelic medicines, which will include participation from the likes of political commentator Van Jones and recording artist Melissa Ethridge. 

Society C to open 56,000 square foot cultivation facility in Metro Detroit

Lake Orion, Michigan-based Society C tomorrow plans to open a $25 million 56,000 square foot medical cannabis cultivation facility. 

Parent company Natrabis initiated construction last year after securing funding from individual investors and debt provider Advanced Flower Capital. Society C says the site includes a $2 million processing facility and $5 million HVAC system.