Ohio won't meet Saturday deadline for medical marijuana—here's why

Ohio won't meet Saturday deadline for medical marijuana—here's why

(OHIO) WOIO - Delays in getting Ohio's medical marijuana cultivators up and growing will mean the state missing the September 8 deadline. Two years ago, when the legislature legalized medical marijuana, it specified that the program should be open for eligible patients two years after it was passed. That's this Saturday. However, no dispensaries are open in Ohio, and will not be in operation by that date.

There are many causes for the delay, including the fact that the first cultivator approved to grow medical marijuana, just received final authorization in late July. Buckeye Relief, which is located in Eastlake, posted on its website that it planted seeds in August, and they should be able to harvest the plants in December.

There are three state agencies that oversee the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. That includes the Department of Commerce, which oversees the sale of medical marijuana. The State Board of Pharmacy makes the rules for the licensure of dispensaries. The Medical Board of Ohio is charged with authorizing physicians to recommend medical marijuana to patients who qualify. A doctor must receive that certification before he or she can make that recommendation.

On the Labor Day holiday, no one from these three state agencies was available to talk about the delays. However on the Medical Marijuana Control Program's website, the board does address the reason for the lapse of time between the legalization of medical marijuana and its practical implementation.

"The process to stand up the Medical Marijuana Control Program must be thoughtful and deliberate to ensure the safety of the public and to promote access to a safe product," the website says.

In June, the state released a list of 56 dispensaries certified to sell medical marijuana in Ohio. As of Labor Day, none of those were in operation. It is illegal to transport marijuana across state lines, and so every state with a legal program must take its supply from its own growers.

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