State grants provisional license for medical marijuana dispensary in Goshen Township

·4 min read
A medical marijuana dispensary is planned to be built at 1145 W. High Ave., in Goshen Township near New Philadelphia. The West End Drive Thru currently occupies the space.
A medical marijuana dispensary is planned to be built at 1145 W. High Ave., in Goshen Township near New Philadelphia. The West End Drive Thru currently occupies the space.

GOSHEN TOWNSHIP — A Michigan man who formerly lived in New Philadelphia plans to open Tuscarawas County's first medical marijuana dispensary just outside the city limits at 1145 W. High Ave. in Goshen Township.

Luke J. Marino of Belleville, Mich. owns 87% of Ratio Cannabis LLC, which received a provisional license Monday from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.

"They have up to 270 days to construct and create a dispensary space that follows all state laws and program rules and regulations," pharmacy board spokeswoman Kylynne Johnson wrote in an email. "Once they are inspected and receive approval from the Board, they are then allowed to operate."

More: City limits: New Philadelphia City Council nixes growing, selling medical marijuana

More: Ohio to more than double number of medical marijuana dispensaries. See where they are

The location, currently a drive-through beverage store, is on an island of township property surrounded by land that lies within the municipal corporation of New Philadelphia, and in the city's busy commercial corridor.

New Philadelphia City Council voted in 2016 to outlaw medical marijuana cultivators, processors and retail dispensaries from being operated anywhere in the city.

The pharmacy board, which regulates dispensaries, announced the recipients of 70 new licenses that were awarded via lottery, with a certain number allocated for each dispensary district containing a county or group of counties. About 230 different entities submitted nearly 1,500 applications for the chance at getting a license.

The board conducted the drawing earlier this year and reviewed applications to determine whether they met business, security and patient care requirements. Dispensaries also can't be within 500 feet of schools, churches, libraries and other facilities.

Over 261,000 patients are currently registered under the program, and nearly 138,000 had an active recommendation from a physician. Many have complained about high prices and needing to drive long distances to find deals or certain products.

Ohio currently has 58 licensed dispensaries. Those closest to Tuscarawas County are in Canton, Coshocton and Wintersville.

Marino declined to discuss his planned dispensary with The Times-Reporter over the phone on Thursday because he would not take possession of the property until July 1. He made an appointment to speak with a reporter on May 27.

The Ratio Cannabis LLC application to the state provides some information about the business, including a list of key employees and their roles.

Marino, 41, is the owner of 87% of the business. He is chief executive and chief operations operations officer. He will receive no compensation for his role as board member but will receive a $50,000 salary for his role as CEO/COO. He will have 40% of the voting rights.

Paul A. Richmond of Dover Township owns 13% of Ratio Cannabis. He will have 20% voting rights in the combined role of officer and board member.

Accountant Scot A. Keller, 40 of Dover is to receive a $50,000 salary for monitoring, reporting and suggesting corrective or preventive measures about the company's financial health and risk positions.

Michael S. Lumetta of Niles, Mich. will receive $3,000 annually and have 20% of the voting rights as a board member.

Jon C. Fields, of Athens, pharmacist and general manager at Buckeye Botanicals, will receive $3,000 annually and 20% voting rights as a board member.

The license application required the disclosure of criminal, civil and administrative actions against key employees and any marijuana entity with which key employees were associated.

Regarding Fields, the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy alleged he obtained pharmaceutical drugs beyond the expressed or implied consent of the owner, dispensed and removed from the pharmacy more insulin than was authorized by the prescription and without paying the required copay costs. The 2012 charge was resolved by a settlement agreement. He agreed to pay $3,000 and get continuing pharmacy education.

Lumetta's disclosures included action by Michigan's marijuana regulatory authority. He was associated with Trimed Sustainable Solution LLC, which failed to identify and track consistently marijuana product inventory in the statewide monitoring system in violation of that state's administrative code. The 2020 complaint ended with a consent order and stipulation to pay $5,000.

Lumetta was convicted of the underage purchase or consumption of alcohol in a 2002 case.

Marino had a 2005 conviction for marijuana possession in New Philadelphia Municipal Court.

Keller had a 2011 New Philadelphia Municipal Court conviction for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

The application says the company has nearly $1.7 million of available capital.

Reach Nancy at 330-364-8402 or

On Twitter: @nmolnarTR

Haley BeMiller of the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on The Times-Reporter: State licenses marijuana dispensary in Goshen near New Philadelphia