Monroe medical marijuana dispensary to open Friday

After months of waiting for its final inspection by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, Monroe’s medical marijuana dispensary has set an opening date.

Jimmy Gould, CEO of CannAscend LLC, said the Strawberry Fields dispensary is set to open on Friday following a 9:30 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony.

Gould said the new dispensary at 300 N. Main St. will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. It will be closed on Sunday.

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“I’m very excited we’re finally opening,” he said.

Gould, who has been working on this for seven years, said the company’s other Ohio dispensaries will open on the following dates: Oct. 29 in Marietta, Oct. 30 in Dayton and Oct. 31 in Logan.

Of the 56 provisional licenses for dispensaries approved last summer by the state, two were in Butler County. In addition to Strawberry Fields in Monroe, the other was the Bloom Medicinals, the medical marijuana dispensary in Seven Mile. Officials said that dispensary will open for business on Thursday.

“I’m over the moon,” Gould said. “I’m excited for our patients and company. We’ve been through a lot and spent a lot of time and money to get here so we’re ready on Friday.”

As for the delays in getting the certificate of operation from the state pharmacy board, Gould said it took a long time but that the state of Ohio is building new infrastructure for this new industry. He said the regulatory process was necessary and are tough.

Gould believes that there are other conditions that medical marijuana could help patients that have yet to be considered by the state. He also believes the medical marijuana industry will continue to go through some more growing pains before it really begins to thrive.

“I’m pleased that the pharmacy board worked with in getting over the hurtles,” Gould said. “Things have a way of settling themselves but we still have a lot of work to do. We’ve learned a lot through the process.”

Gould said he has about 42 “really dedicated” people working at the four dispensaries and that it took time for the regulators to get to know his staff.

“I’m grateful that even with disagreements, everyone worked through them,” he said. “We have to recognize that we need to follow the laws and always keep the patient in mind.”

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