A settlement has cleared the way for a medical-marijuana dispensary to open in Clintonville.
Harvest of Ohio, a chain of medical-marijuana dispensaries, is giving $500,000 to the state's drug-tracking system to settle a dispute over the chain's ownership, the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced March 6.
Last year, the pharmacy board accused Harvest, which also has dispensaries planned for Athens and Beavercreek, of lying about its ownership structure to gain an advantage on its application. The pharmacy board barred Harvest from opening any of its dispensaries until the inquiry concluded.
With the matter now behind it, Harvest may open those dispensaries once they pass inspections, according to a settlement filed in Franklin County Municipal Court.
Clintonville's Harvest dispensary is at 2950 N. High St.
Harvest's application lists Cleveland businesswoman Ariana Kirkpatrick, who is black, as a 51% owner. When it awarded medical-marijuana licenses, state regulators gave preference to businesses that were majority-owned by members of such economically disadvantaged groups as racial minorities.
The pharmacy board alleged that multistate marijuana operator Harvest Health and Recreation was the true owner of Harvest of Ohio's dispensaries.
In a statement, the company said it has worked with the state and pharmacy board to resolve the issues that were raised about the businesses' ownership.
"While Harvest of Ohio and Harvest Grows had disagreements with the Board and the Department on some matters of interpretation of Ohio law, the companies are pleased to have resolved their differences with both the Board and the Department," the statement said.
The settlement requires Kirkpatrick to remain a majority and managing member of the company, and Harvest is barred from selling any of its dispensaries for at least 18 months. Harvest is not required to admit wrongdoing.
The $500,000 payment will go to the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System, which tracks prescription drug and medical-marijuana sales.
Kirkpatrick said she is "happy" and "overwhelmed" by the decision.
She referred specific questions about the settlement to a spokesperson, who later released a statement in which Kirkpatrick said she was looking forward to getting the operations up and going.
"We can now concentrate on creating job opportunities and engaging with the communities in Athens, Beavercreek, Columbus and Ironton," she said. "I appreciate all of the assistance I received from the state of Ohio as we worked together to resolve concerns relative to our documentation.
The probe into Harvest's ownership was part of a far-reaching investigation into the ownership of Ohio's medical-marijuana companies.
Few details of the investigation have been made public, but the probe ensnared Greenleaf Apothecaries, which operates several Ohio dispensaries, including one in the Arena District, under the title the Botanist.
Greenleaf was accused of selling its dispensaries to the New York-based Acreage Holdings before it was eligible to do so. The company returned $3 million to Acreage and agreed to pay a $300,000 fine to settle the case.