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Ohio legalized medical marijuana when Governor John Kasich signed HB 523 into law on June 8th, 2016. The law took effect on September 8, 2016, legalizing medical marijuana access for patients suffering from qualifying medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s, ALS, Cancer, Crohn’s disease, Hepatitis C, Chronic/Severe Pain and more. 

Qualifying Patients will obtain medical marijuana from state licensed Medical Marijuana Retail Dispensaries. The state will be issuing licenses for Cultivation, Processing, Lab Testing and Retail Dispensing with four regulating departments overseeing the entire Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.

Read the entire bill here.

Program Regulating Departments:

Ohio Department of Commerce (ODC): Responsible for overseeing medical marijuana cultivators, processors and testing laboratories.

State Board of Pharmacy (BOP): Responsible for overseeing medical marijuana retail dispensaries, the registration of medical marijuana patients and caregivers, the approval of new forms of medical marijuana and coordinating the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee.

Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee (MMAC) 

Tasked to make recommendations concerning the Program to the Department of Commerce, Board of Pharmacy, and State Medical Board.

Ohio Medical Board

Responsible for certifying physicians to recommend medical marijuana and may add to the list of qualifying conditions for which medical marijuana can be recommended.

Marijuana Business Overview

Medical Marijuana Cultivator 

Allowed to cultivate medical marijuana and deliver or sell medical marijuana to one or more licensed processors. There are two (2) types of Cultivator License available outlined below. The deadline for submitting an application for a Cultivator’s license was June 2017. The state is no longer accepting applications for Cultivator’s licenses.

  • Level I Cultivator License means a cultivator that is permitted to operate up to twenty-five thousand (25,000) square footage of space designated as the marijuana cultivation area in the application. The ODC may issue up to twelve (12) Level I Cultivator Licenses. Level I cultivator application fee is twenty thousand dollars ($20,000) and must establish and maintain an escrow account in a chartered financial institution in Ohio in the amount of seven hundred fifty thousand dollars ($750,000).
  • Level II Cultivator License means a cultivator that is permitted to operate up to three thousand (3,000) square footage of space designated as the marijuana cultivation area in the application. The ODC may issue up to twelve (12) Level II Cultivator Licenses. Level II cultivator application is two thousand dollars ($2,000) and must establish and maintain an escrow account in a chartered financial institution in Ohio in the amount of seventy-five thousand dollars ($75,000).

A Cultivator License Applicant may only apply for one (1) type of Cultivation License (for example, a Level I Cultivator License Applicant shall be prohibited from applying for a Level II Cultivator License, and vice versa).

Medical Marijuana Processor 

Allowed to obtain medical marijuana from one or more licensed cultivators and process medical marijuana into a form described in the Program’s Laws and Regulations as well as deliver or sell processed medical marijuana to one or more licensed retail dispensaries. The ODC may issue up to forty (40) Processor Licenses. Processor application fee is ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Medical Marijuana Retail Dispensary 

Allowed to obtain medical marijuana from one or more processors and dispense or sell medical marijuana to qualifying patients and caregivers. No more than 60 dispensary licenses shall be awarded statewide where a dispensary may not be any less than 500 feet from a school, church, public library, public playground or public park as well as remaining ensuring the location meets local zoning laws within their respective city/county. The nonrefundable application fee for a dispensary license is set at $5,000 and must provide proof that the applicant has adequate liquid assets to cover all expenses and costs of the first year of less than $250,000.

Program Timeline

September 8, 2016 – Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program Established
May 6, 2017 – Cultivator Rules Adopted
June 2017 – Application submission for Cultivator Licenses
September 8, 2017 – Processor, Testing and Dispensary Rules Adopted
September 8, 2017 – Patient/Caregiver and Physician Rules Adopted
TBD – Dispensary, Processor, Testing Application Submissions

Medical Marijuana Industry Developments

Meet the Ohio Medical Marijuana Committee

Chairman: Curtis L. Passafume, Jr., R.Ph. [Pharmacist, VP of Ohio Health’s Pharmacy Services] of Hilliard (Franklin Co.), has been appointed Chairman

Pharmacy: Timothy J. Bechtold of Columbus (Franklin Co.) has been appointed to represent Pharmacists for a term beginning September 23, 2016 and ending June 30, 2020.

Pharmacy: Stephanie M. Abel [Pharmacist at James Cancer Center & working with Ohio State University’s pain and palliative care program ] of Dublin (Franklin Co.) Has been appointed to represent Pharmacists

Public Benefits: Christopher J. Allwein of Columbus (Franklin Co.) has been appointed to the Public Benefits Advisory Board for a term beginning September 23, 2016, and ending June 30, 2019.

Addiction: Tony E. Coder, Jr. [Asst. Dir. Drug-Free Action Alliance] of Mount Gilead (Morrow Co.) Has been appointed to represent Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Agriculture: Michael G. Hirsch [Hirsch Fruit Farm] of Chillicothe (Ross Co.) Has been appointed to represent Agriculture

Physicians: Dr. Jerry W. Mitchell, Jr. [Oncologist at Zagmesiter Cancer Center] of Powell (Delaware Co.) Has been appointed to represent Physicians

Physicians: Dr. Amol Soin [Physician & owner of a chain of pain clinics & OSMA Board member] of Xenia (Greene Co.) Has been appointed to represent Physicians

Employers: Michael E. Stanek [NE Ohio CFO & board member of the Greater Cleveland Partnership] of Avon Lake (Lorain Co.) Has been appointed to represent Employers

Academic Researcher: Gary L. Wenk, Ph.D. [OSU Professor, studies medical benefits of marijuana on the endocannabinoid system] of Columbus (Franklin Co.) Has been appointed to represent Researchers

Law Enforcement: Sheriff John Lenhart (Shelby Co.) [Shelby County Sheriff] Has been appointed to represent local Law Enforcement

Caregivers: Martin McCarthy Jr. of Parma (Cuyahoga Co.) Has been appointed to represent Caregivers

Labor: Jason Kaseman [Political director for United Food & Commercial Workers Union] Has Been appointed to represent Labor

Nurses: Nancy Walsh Mosca (Mahoning Co.) [Mahoning County Nurse & Nursing Director] Has been appointed to represent Nurses

Patients: James “Ted” Bibart [Legislative analyst who studies state medical marijuana laws for Benesch Attorneys at Law] Has been appointed to represent Patients

To keep you updated with State Industry updates, Dispensary Permits contributes this insight to the DCN community. 

To stay up to date on more industry updates, click here.