Ohio State legislators recently passed a Medical Marijuana legalization bill that has been received with mixed reactions by different municipalities. Over fifty Counties shortly afterward proceeded to pass bans on cultivating, processing and distribution of cannabis. Findley, Huber Heights, and Lima are at the forefront of what seems to be a pull in the opposite direction. The three municipalities, citing public safety concerns, expressed an unwillingness to comply with the State’s new medical cannabis program.
A few more have either canceled bans or let them expire, a move that has slowly come to redefine Ohio State’s once restrictive approach to the marijuana topic. Courtesy of the new laws, the state plans to commence issuance of cultivator licenses with over 180 candidates awaiting vetting. Ohio State Department of Commerce, State Medical Board, and Board of Pharmacy of Ohio have drafted up guidelines to govern the state’s medical marijuana program. The said guidelines are expected to come into effect in early September.With the State’s ongoing efforts to have the medical marijuana program up and running, the 50 or so non-compliant municipalities have come under a lot of pressure to similarly follow suit.
Ohio State law now makes it possible for individuals with any of 21 medical conditions that qualify them to buy and use cannabis with a physician’s prescription. The state intends to license up to 24 medical marijuana cultivators, 40 processors, and 60 dispensaries and an unspecified number of testing labs. But with parts of Ohio still outlawing marijuana cultivation and distribution, the effectiveness of implementation of the new law is that much harder to gauge. The new law prohibits any cannabis-related operations from being conducted within 500 feet of schools, child day-care centers, libraries, churches, playgrounds, or parks.
It also allows local governments to formulate zoning regulations with an aim to control the number of medical pot enterprises. More recently, a man in Bedford Heights had his marijuana concentrate confiscated after an early morning raid. Before the passing of the new law, the man would have been slapped with a hefty 150$ fine and possible felony charges in a municipal court. However, law enforcement officers returned his five grams worth of wax and promised not to instigate any legal procedures.
This new development has signaled a change in the outlook towards medical marijuana and is a promising start to a budding industry. It is hoped that more jurisdictions will pave the way for the full implementation of the legal medical cannabis program in the State of Ohio.