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Cresco Labs Braces for Cannabis Shortages in Ohio

The timeline for the recreational cannabis market launch moved up to mid-June.

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The political standoff over Ohio’s freshly legalized adult-use cannabis market ended abruptly this week and while that’s good news for operators, it may not leave enough time to get up to speed before the official launch.

With dispensary licensing rules finally approved, recreational cannabis sales could begin by mid-June in Ohio. Cresco Labs is one of the largest multi-state cannabis operators in the U.S. and it stands to benefit greatly from Ohio’s recreational market coming online.

Cresco Labs CEO Charles Bachtell said the company has been making strategic improvements and hiring more workers at its medical dispensaries in the state to ensure they’re able to handle the increased volume.

“So we’ve been working on [adult-use] preparedness like everybody in the market, we have been investing in the stores to make sure that they can handle the increased volume that adult-use is going to bring. But moving the date up of expected launch by a few months will inevitably come with potential for supply shortages,” he said, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

Cresco Labs CFO Dennis Olis said the good news is that the bulk of the company’s capex investments toward boosting production capacity in the state have already been made.

Ohio is not the first state to move from medical cannabis only to a recreational-medical hybrid model. Bachtell said the experience his company has gained from other conversion markets like Massachusetts helped a lot in preparing for Ohio in the near-term, and Florida and Pennsylvania in the longer-term.

“So I’m excited for the team to be a part of an [adult-use] launch, an [adult-use] conversion, and I’m really excited to see how they handle it, because they’re going to be much better prepared than we have been in prior examples. But that’s why I also cautioned about the excitement about the accelerated launch timeline in Ohio. Internally, we kind of referred to it as the excitement about when you’re traveling and your flight arrives 45 minutes early, but then you sit on the tarmac for 30 minutes because the gate isn’t ready,” Bachtell said.

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