Ohio’s medical marijuana program likely won’t be fully grown by the fall.
Officials in the Ohio Department of Commerce say not all the state’s growers, manufacturers and dispensaries will be fully in operation by the deadline of September 8, two years from when the law creating the program was signed.
Provisional licenses for processing labs, testing labs and businesses will be awarded in May and June. And since growers just got licenses in November, spokesperson Stephanie Gostomski says the program won’t be in full force right away.
“We expect that there will be licensed operators for all license types in order to ensure Ohio patients will have access to safe medical marijuana on September 8, recognizing this is private industry and the individual licensees will make their own operating decisions," Gostomski says.
That means dispensaries will have some stock on the shelves but not every dispensary or grower will be in operation at first. But the agency says lawsuits over how the licenses were awarded won’t stall the program.
Ohio's medical marijuana law allows people with up to 21 different medical conditions to buy and use marijuana if it's recommended by a doctor. Officials estimate patients will start registering with the program in early July.
State Medical Board Executive director A.J. Groeber says it was unrealistic to expect the program to be fully operational by Sept. 8.