While California and Florida make headlines with for their cannabis store openings, licensed producers such as Green Thumb Industries Inc. (CSE: GTII; OTCQX: GTBIF) have also focused on a growing medical marijuana industry in states such as Ohio. 

With the legal sales of medical cannabis just kicking off in the state earlier this year, Green Thumb is now opening two new Rise branded stores. Rise Lorain officially opens today – May 3, 2019 – while Rise Toledo will open its doors this coming Monday, May 6. 

Registration for medical marijuana usage in Ohio began at the end of 2018, with 24,000 patients completing that process as of the end of April. According to a statewide analysis of residents after medical usage was legalized, more than 3 million people in Ohio have conditions that could qualify for medical cannabis treatment. 

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz heralded the store openings as a win for the local community on the jobs front and in terms of increased access to medicine for patients. 

The company was additionally granted a processing license in Toledo for production and distribution of cannabis products. The Toledo storefront’s opening next week will bring Green Thumb’s total number of operational Rise stores up to 18. 

Aside from those 18 locations, Green Thumb currently has licenses in hand for a total of 77 storefront locations across the U.S. in 14 markets. Company founder and CEO Ben Kovler had this to say about the new additions to the Rise family: 

We are honored to be the first company to open access to medical marijuana in Toledo and Lorain and be so warmly welcomed into these communities. Rise is focused on helping people exercise their right to wellness through meticulous customer care and a curated assortment of products that bring relief and improve the quality of daily life.

Kovler appeared at a series of North American business conferences earlier this year as both the recreational and medical sides of the cannabis industry seek greater visibility and legitimacy in the greater business community.  

In addition to appearing at the ROTH conference in March, Kovler also spoke at the GMP Cannabis Conference and Jeffries Cannabis Summit last month to answer questions about the industry.