The grower processor opportunities in Pennsylvania and Ohio will be limited in comparison to the Colorado market. Much of this has to do with the timing of the regulations. In Colorado, the medical marijuana law for patients was passed in 2000, however the business regulations didn’t begin until 2010. Therefore, there were many businesses in existence before the regulations were created. The regulations were framed around a (small) industry already in existence. In Pennsylvania and Ohio, the business regulations are being implemented in conjunction with the medical marijuana patient program.
The biggest difference begins with the limited licenses that will be allowed in those states. In Pennsylvania there will be 5 vertically integrated licenses, with an additional 20 cultivation and 20 processor licenses. For Ohio, those details are still pending. Colorado has not limited the number of licenses allowed in the state although many local municipalities have imposed their own limited licensing process or a complete ban or moratorium. Even before adult-use was legalized in Colorado, the medical marijuana program did not limit those licenses. In states where licenses have been limited, we have seen ten times the applicants for the amount of licenses available. This means the competition is fierce and only the most qualified groups will be selected.
Another limitation is the types of products allowed to be produced. In Pennsylvania, only oil, pills, topicals and tinctures will be allowed to be manufactured. In Ohio, will have a similar product offering and in addition, the raw flower will be allowed to be sold, although smoking is not allowed.
Finally, the window for applying for a license in PA and OH will be limited, so if you don’t submit your application on time, the opportunity is over. If you are not selected, you may not have another opportunity to apply for years to come. So it will be extremely important for you to have a robust application to submit or you won’t have any grower/processor opportunities to pursue.