An Ohio judge Friday delayed ruling on a lawsuit seeking to stop the state from issuing certificates of operation to licensed medical marijuana growers.
Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Richard Frye scheduled a preliminary injunction hearing for May 11 after hearing the lawsuit filed by Ohio Releaf.
The company was one of dozens of applicants denied a provisional license to grow weed under Ohio’s new Medical Marijuana Program.
The Ohio Department of Commerce granted 24 provisional licenses to large and small growers last year.
Cultivators with provisional licenses must have their operations inspected by the state and be granted a certificate of operation before they can begin growing weed.
Many unsuccessful applicants filed lawsuits and appeals with the commerce department after learning of scoring errors and other irregularities that may have skewed the selection process.
Ohio Releaf alleges the commerce department is not moving fast enough on the appeals and fears further delay might jeopardize its chances to secure a cultivator’s license.
The company has asked the judge to prohibit the commerce department from handing out permanent certificates of operation until the appeals process is complete.
A decision to pause the process would be a setback for all growers and could delay the launch of the Medical Marijuana Program, which is scheduled to go live in September.
Judge Frye told attorneys for both sides that Ohio Releaf’s complaint that “they are being slow-walked through this process” has some validity.
He also said he was concerned that minimum due process wasn’t being granted to all applicants.
Ohio Releaf is No. 57 on the list of applicants who filed appeals, according to a commerce department spokeswoman, who assured the judge that due process was being granted to all companies on the list.