Medical Marijuana Licenses Likely Won't Be Issued Until November, Potentially Stalling Ohio's Weed Crop


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Thanks to relatively new medical marijuana laws, Ohio plans to issue 24 cultivator licenses across the state (half for small growers and half for larger ones). So far the Ohio Department of Commerce has received 185 applications for licenses, but they likely won't distribute them until November, which could hinder the state's intention to launch the new program by September 2018.

Thomas Rosenberger, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association of Ohio, expressed concern to over the November deadline. He said the slow application reviewing process puts "tremendous pressure" on marijuana growers to build "world class facilities" and be able to distribute the crop by fall 2018.

Initially, licenses were expected to be distributed in September, just over a year after Ohio marijuana laws were passed in June 2016. The laws stipulate that people with any of these 21 medical conditions can use the drug, with a physician's recommendation.

Justin Hunt, Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program Chief Officer, told that people might not have to worry, as decisions could be made sooner than November.

"We have the resources that we need, depending on the number of applications that came in," said Hunt. "There were 185 of them so we're moving as quickly as possible."

In the meantime, potential licensees are anxious to know whether their applications are accepted so they can obtain zoning approval.

A panel comprised of in-state and out-of-state commerce department employees, along with three consulting firms (from Ohio, Arizona and Illinois), is currently deliberating on which 24 applicants will be granted licenses.

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