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Ohio regulators want $2.1M to cover the cost of medical cannabis

To this date, the state has not awarded any of its five testing labs a provisional medical cannabis license in Ohio

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Ohio regulators want $2.1M to cover the cost of medical cannabis

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Ohio State regulators have demanded an additional $2.1 million from state coffers to afford litigation fees for medical cannabis lawsuits. The lawsuits were filed against the Ohio Department of Commerce.

The “Buckeye State” has its own Medical Marijuana Control Program, of which is being overseen by three state agencies. One of those agencies is the commerce. Earlier in the year, the agency fought against numerous lawsuits initiated by companies that had been refused of a medical cannabis cultivation license.

Ohio Department of Commerce exceeds a $1 million budget

Previously, the agency had been limited to spending $1 million on defense against the lawsuits. However, this budget has been exceeded by more than double.

Recently, the commerce department’s senior official, Mark Hamlin, disclosed the agency’s reasons for forking out an additional $1.1 million.

“That just wasn’t enough,” he said during a discussion with the state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee in Columbus.

The request to cover the litigation fees for medical cannabis lawsuits was waiting for approval by the state Controlling Board, before being given the green light just a few days after.

Ohio medical cannabis program has been delayed

Aside from the $2.1 million requested, Ohio State regulators have also informed the committee on the current status of its medical cannabis program. Since its long-awaited launch date in September, the program has remained stifled.

In order to push things along for Ohio’s medical cannabis program, testing laboratories must start testing plants for potency and quality. Once this phase has been executed, legal weed companies and business operators can start introducing medical cannabis to the market.

To this date, the state has not awarded any of its five testing labs a provisional medical cannabis license in Ohio. Without a certificate of operation, patients must wait to get their hands on pharmaceutical-grade medicinal products.

Nevertheless, two small-scale cultivators have already begun harvesting their first crops. In addition to this, one large-scale grower in Ohio aimed to kick-start the crop-harvesting process this month. Despite this, the plants must be dried and cured for a few weeks before they can be tested in a laboratory setting.

One medical cannabis retail dispensary has opened its doors in Ohio so far. Based near Steubenville in Jefferson County, Cresco Labs’ CY+ dispensary has been given the go-ahead from regulators to start selling medicinal-grade weed and weed-based medicines.

It is the first of 56 state-licensed dispensaries in Ohio to receive a certificate of operation.

You can find out more information about the impact of Ohio’s medical cannabis lawsuits here.

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Ohio regulators want $2.1M to cover the cost of medical cannabis