The final rules for medical marijuana growers in Ohio were given to lawmakers this week. The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review approved, without objection, the cultivator portion of the rules. The rules are set to take effect on May 6.
Rules for the other business aspects, like labs and dispensaries, are still being hashed out, according to Cleveland.com. These rules have to be in place by September 8. One item still causing a bit of controversy is the criminal records of those wanting to own and/or work in the industry. Right now, the law reads that first-degree misdemeanor convictions/guilty pleas more than 5 years old aren’t an automatic disqualification.
Attorney David Patton said, “Nobody wants criminals involved in the medical marijuana program, but the fact is most of the people who understand this industry have been engaged in medical marijuana activities and recreational activities for decades.”
Justin Hunt of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program reminded those concerned that the offenses disqualifying applicants are clearly listed within the rules already.
Hunt said, “The authority we have is broad to draft the rules…that help us establish a safe medical marijuana program and ensure a safe, consistent supply for the patients that will ultimately rely on this medicine.”
The changes made include increasing the number of cultivators to 24 and allowing an expansion to the number of licenses as needed. The square footage of existing businesses would be permitted to triple. Licenses would not be divided into four regions, but would be awarded based on merit/ability to best serve the state’s patients.
Cultivator licenses can start being submitted in June.