Ohio Awards Medical Marijuana Grower Licenses To 12 Businesses

Seth PerlmanAP Images

Ohio Governor John Kasich’s legislative signature started the process of bringing legal medical marijuana to the Buckeye State back in June, 2016. The roll-out for this new medicinal option has been slow, though, and there still aren’t any operational dispensaries.

Some forms of medical marijuana have been available to legal cardholders since the end of 2016, but most Ohio residents with a medical marijuana card are still waiting for the opportunity to utilize their recently acquired legal rights. The good news for these individuals is that the latest developments indicate the wait is almost over.

Only 12 Businesses Have a License to Grow Medical Marijuana

A statewide vote made it clear that medical marijuana might be accepted by many Ohioans, but they wanted to make sure growers weren’t able to select their own business location. In other words, the 12 businesses that have been granted a license will be at the mercy of three companies tasked with selecting every marijuana farm location.

These farms can be as large as 25,000 square feet, and the law stipulates that they must be at least 500 feet away from public playgrounds, churches, schools and public libraries. The 12 businesses will be operating out of 13 facilities located in 12 of Ohio’s 88 counties.

There were 109 businesses vying for the 12 spots, making it no surprise that at least one company that didn’t earn a license is now contesting the entire process. It seems unlikely that this protest will gain much steam because the state purposefully hid the names of each business applicant from the three companies tasked with reviewing each application.

Meade & Wing, B&B Grow Solutions and iCann Consulting considered business plans, finances, security and quality assurance. From there, applicants received a score. The top-scoring companies will have first crack at cultivating Ohio’s medical marijuana supply.

When will Medical Marijuana be Available?

Medical Marijuana Packaging
Ohio previously legalized medical marijuana under certain circumstances [Image by Jennifer Peltz/AP Images]

The state plans to make medical marijuana available to cardholders by September 2018. It’s important to note that there are several stipulations medical marijuana cardholders will have to meet. For example, growing their own marijuana and ingesting it via smoking are both prohibited by law. Additionally, Ohio’s at-will employment status means that employers have the legal right to discriminate against employees and job applicants who use medical marijuana.

In the meantime, Ohio’s medical marijuana card enables cardholders to purchase medical marijuana from participating states. However, Michigan and Illinois don’t sell to cardholders from other states, and neither Indiana nor Kentucky has legalized medical marijuana usage. It’s also currently not legal for Ohio residents to obtain medical marijuana from Pennsylvania or West Virginia, making it extremely difficult for current cardholders to fill their prescriptions.

Getting a Medical Marijuana Card in Ohio

The Ohio State Medical Board currently recognizes 21 health conditions eligible for medical marijuana, including cancer, HIV, PTSD, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Crohn’s disease and fibromyalgia. Anyone with an eligible condition can apply for a medical marijuana card via a registered doctor.