State delays licensing medicinal marijuana outlets; more news

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy was slated to announce which hopeful medicinal marijuana dispensaries would receive licenses this week, but will now hold off until next month as it looks to verify credentials from applicants.

Hello all. Here’s a super-quick rundown of news around Cincinnati today.

A member of the Cincinnati Park Board resigned yesterday, citing a controversial new agreement between the board and the city that gives the city more control over a private foundation’s funds that donors provide to support the parks.

"Since I cannot abide an agreement that strips the park board of its independence; independence from the city that was established over a century ago by the citizens of Cincinnati, I am compelled to resign,” 23-year Cincinnati parks veteran Bob Anning wrote in his resignation letter to Mayor John Cranley.

Anning’s departure comes after a long-running controversy around oversight of the private Cincinnati Parks Foundation and spending from that fund by top parks officials. That battle eventually involved a lawsuit last year from then-Park Board Chair Dianne Rosenberg, who opposed increased city oversight into the park board. Cranley said Rosenberg’s term was up, but she disputed that. Courts found in Cranley’s favor, and she was replaced by Cranley appointee Jim Goetz.

Anning, another opponent of the city’s memorandum of understanding that requires city sign-off on park foundation expenditures, said that he, Rosenberg and others suggested changes to the way spending took place that preserved the park board’s independence, but that those suggestions were ignored by the city.

• A local startup recently landed on a national list of “disruptive” companies that also includes Lyft, Airbnb and Space X. Lisnr uses inaudible sound waves emitted by devices like smartphones for authentication purposes, with potential applications in mobile payment, the automotive industry and many other sectors. The company landed at number 22 on CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list, which ranks private companies that are “changing the world.” It’s Lisnr’s third year making that list.

• FC Cincinnati ownership is “optimistic and excited” about the team’s chances to land a Major League Soccer franchise, team owner Carl Linder III told the Cincinnati Business Courier yesterday. Linder said he thinks the team has “checked all the boxes” necessary for the expansion franchise, which it is competing with Sacramento, Calif. and Detroit to land. The final box to get checked was a community benefits agreement with representatives from the West End, where the team wants to build its stadium. That agreement has remained controversial — the neighborhood’s community council voted against the stadium in March — but Cincinnati City Council approved the deal earlier this month. Lindner says the team hopes to have a site visit from MLS officials scheduled by the end of the month.

• Ohio’s medicinal marijuana program got some bad news yesterday as the state’s Board of Pharmacy announced it would be delaying awarding provisional licenses to up to 57 medicinal marijuana dispensaries. The board couldn’t validate that applicants had the necessary minimum credentials to operate those dispensaries, officials say, and so they’re moving the announcement of the approved dispensers up to June. It’s the latest in a bumpy rollout for the program, which must be up and running by September, according to the state law that legalized medicinal weed. Two lawsuits against the state over its licensing procedure for growers were recently dismissed by courts, but the state did have to issue an additional license to a grower after admitting it made mistakes in grading applications for the licenses.

• Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives still can’t agree on a leader, which has led to continued deadlock in the legislative body, including canceled sessions. As the GOP scrambles to name a House speaker to replace former state Rep. Cliff Rosenberger, the FBI raided the former speaker’s home today as part of an investigation into Rosenberger’s cozy relationship with lobbyists from the payday loan industry (and others), as well as his spending on travel.

• Kentuckians voted in their state’s primary yesterday, and there were some interesting results. Kentucky House of Representatives Majority Floor Leader Jonathan Shell lost his primary to fellow Republican Travis Brenda, a math teacher who had never run for public office before. Voters ousted Northern Kentucky prosecutor Linda Tally Smith — who had been caught up in a scandal involving an affair she had with a detective in the murder trial of David Dooley — in favor of her Republican primary opponent Louis Kelly. Democrats, meanwhile, decided to back Seth Hall in his quest to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie in the state’s 4th Congressional District. Hall beat out two other Democratic hopefuls — Bellevue businesswoman Pattie Piatt and Trimble County’s Christina Lord — on his way to what promises to be a very challenging campaign to unseat Massie in his deep-red district. You can find more primary results here.

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