After several delays and a severely elongated process, Ohio finally awards marijuana licenses to qualified applicants throughout the state. Members of the Board of Pharmacy announced the locations of the state’s first batch of medical marijuana dispensaries today.
Several Lawsuits Caused Delay Of License Awards
According to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, the board could award licenses to nearly five dozen dispensaries throughout 28 designated geographic reasons. In total, there were over 376 applications that applied to the seller’s licenses.
The operation is expected to be up and running by September 8th, barring any additional setbacks.
However, ‘setbacks’ have been a staple of Ohio’s prospective medical marijuana program. The state’s medical marijuana bill was first passed back in September 2016, but the process has been stifled by several delays, including three lawsuits by disgruntled cannabis companies denied licensing under the new program.
The first lawsuit came back in December when PharmaCann Ohio argued that the state’s “racial quota” for growing licenses was illegal. The lawsuit demanded that permits were awarded to the top 12 dispensaries.
In February, another six cultivators sued on behalf of the licensing process. The companies claimed that the scoring process for growing licenses was “flawed.”
According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the February lawsuit contended that:
- Five license winners should have been disqualified.
- Two companies that won permits under a diversity provision aren’t actually owned by minorities.
- 14 applications were incorrectly scored.
- At least two department scoring consultants had conflicts of interest with companies that won permits.
The most recent lawsuit occurred this past March, when Ohio ReLeaf contended that the program’s Department of Commerce broke the Ohio Public Records Act and failed to initiate an appeals hearings on growing licenses, according to The Cleveland Plain Dealer. The company believed that the state was “trying to ‘run out the clock,’” so they could move forward with the batch of already-licensed companies.
Following the aforementioned hurdles, the state was expected to announce its dispensary locations back on May 22nd. Unfortunately, it was delayed as the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy finished up the necessary paperwork to proceed. The paperwork included background checks and verifying that each location was at least 500 feet away from schools and churches.
Additionally, Ohio will still need to approve several other licenses before the dispensaries can officially be up and running by September. There will be 40 provisional licenses that allow companies to process cannabis into edibles and other legal forms as well as licenses for labs to test the marijuana.
Due to the elongated process, a little under 100 doctors have been approved to recommend medical marijuana to their patients. Per theOhio Medical Marijuana Control Program, patients must meet one of the many qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, which includes AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, Parkinson’s disease, positive status for HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis.
Board Of Pharmacy Awards Provisional Dispensary Licenses
The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy awarded 56 medical marijuana provisional dispensary licenses today. The awards were given after an extensive review of 376 applications. The complete list of provisional licensees, their scores and more information can be found on the dispensaries page of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program’s website.