Excerpt from article:
Tom Haren, partner at Ohio law firm Frantz Ward, sees the current regulatory trend a bit differently.
More permitting issues popping up
“I don’t know if they (regulators) are necessarily getting more assertive as much as the life cycle of the industry is now when these (licensing) issues are starting to crop up,” Haren said.
For example, he said, Ohio developed its medical marijuana regulations in 2016 and 2017, at a time when there were few publicly traded companies and little merger and acquisition activity.
“It was a different world,” Haren said.
Like many states, Ohio drafted strict ownership and license-transfer requirements, regulations that haven’t necessarily kept pace with industry realities.
Some states, for example, require clean criminal records for all owners of a business. That’s a requirement impossible to meet by publicly held companies with thousands of stockholders.
The reality is that the cannabis industry has evolved into one that reflects almost every industry, with fluid ownership, Haren noted.
“Some states don’t want licenses to be sold, but that’s not how business works, that’s not how markets work,” Haren said. “I think we really need to reevaluate how we treat the industry.”
“In my experience, companies are making every effort to comply with the rules,” Haren added. “No company wants to have to surrender licenses or get in trouble with the regulators.”