Ohio Cannabis Legalized but Patients Still Waiting.
One year after medical marijuana became legalized, patients still can’t buy legal cannabis within the state of Ohio. No licenses are given to cultivators, processors, labs or dispensaries. Doctors cannot become certified to recommend it. Ohio officials say that dispensaries will open by Sept 8th, 2018. That is a long time before anyone sees a single legal joint for sale in Ohio.
In the fall of next year, Ohio plans to license several cannabis facilities. This includes 24 growers, 40 manufacturers of cannabis oils, tinctures, patches and medibles, and 60 dispensaries. They are also going to grant licensing to testing labs but Ohio officials are not sure how many.
The application process will not be cheap in Ohio.
The application process will not be streamlined, and the state fees will not be cheap. Larger cultivators are expected to pay $20,000 for a non-refundable application fee. And another $180,000 license fee if they are approved. The application fee is renewable for $200,000 per year.
Not all Ohio cities are joining the bandwagon.
Ohio allows cities to say whether they want marijuana businesses in their neighborhoods. Over 50 municipalities said no, they don’t want medical dispensaries in their towns. Slowly but surely entrepreneurs are changing the minds of these cities. Normally by showing them the huge potential income they would be losing if they don’t participate in the medical dispensary movement.
In recent months, more than a dozen communities have lifted the ban or let their own bans expire. Cities like Youngstown, Columbus and Johnstown have agreed to allow marijuana businesses to begin cultivation.
Columbus was one of the first cities to allow cannabis cultivation. They soon ran out of qualified cultivation grow space because of the large number of people petitioning for a license. Many cultivators almost lost their grow space when they realized how big the bill was for local licensing. “Even if you’re welcoming, there are other communities who are welcoming now,” Johnstown Village Manager Jim Lenner said.
Too bad ailments can’t take a two-year hiatus.
Ohio lawmakers understand that medical patients can’t wait two years before receiving treatment. That is why they put a few safeguards to help protect them from being prosecuted for possession. If patients have some form of letter or paperwork certifying that they have a qualifying condition, this protects them from prosecution. However, the law doesn’t state where they can legally obtain their weed.
Because Ohio physicians aren’t certified yet, they are reluctant to sign off for potential medical marijuana patients. That hasn’t stopped everyone though. A small percentage (7%) of Ohio doctors are willing to take the risk and help medical cannabis patients with recommendations.
But is simply isn’t enough.
Many patients like Amanda Candow are refraining from purchasing marijuana. Candow has multiple sclerosis and has a doctor’s note. But because of the current state of Ohio laws she doesn’t trust the letter and therefore is too afraid to buy weed.
Candow and others who have debilitating conditions like terminal cancer want to stay on the right side of the law. Even though Ohio cannabis is legal, delays and outrageous fees in the licensing process stop progress.