Medical cannabis industry wary of growth as demand lags

Medical cannabis industry wary of growth as demand lags

Inside a large, pristine facility at Buckeye Lake, PharmaCann is growing just under 25,000 square feet of marijuana − almost half the size of a football field.

Rooms are filled with nearly 4,500 cannabis plants at different stages that will eventually be sold as flower or processed into edibles or vapes. And PharmaCann could go bigger, if it wanted. Under its license with the state, the company is allowed to cultivate up to 50,000 square feet at the central Ohio facility.

But PharmaCann officials say the numbers don't add up. They believe there's too much supply and not enough demand from patients, many of whom skip the bureaucracy and drive to Michigan for cheaper marijuana. Growing any more in the current market wouldn't work for the company's bottom line, said Jeremy Unruh, vice president of public and regulatory affairs.

"When you’re growing at a loss, you’re producing at a loss in an over-saturated market, your ability to do anything but put out your cheapest product is constrained," Unruh said.

Lawmakers introduced legislation earlier this year aimed at overhauling the program and curing headaches for both patients and businesses. But industry leaders say provisions in the bill that would increase cultivation space could make matters worse.

And a potential November ballot question to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio may change the equation altogether.

Continue reading.

Photo: Cannabis is packaged and labeled inside PharmaCann's cultivation and processing facility at Buckeye Lake.© Barbara J. Perenic/The Columbus Dispatch



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