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Ohio Medical Marijuana Law Blog

Major obstacles to medical marijuana affecting market

The first medical marijuana dispensary in Ohio opened in January and seven months in, cardholders are not satisfied with the way the program is operating. According to an online survey that 640 patients responded to, almost 50% stated they were very dissatisfied with the program and only around 4% said they were very satisfied. However, given that there are 52,000 medical marijuana cardholders in the state, it can only be considered an important snapshot of the situation, not a complete picture.

There is no doubt that medical marijuana prices in the state continue to remain high. Given that only a fraction of the proposed dispensaries have opened so far, prices haven't fallen to a competitive one yet. Additionally, companies are still trying to recoup their setting up costs, which is prices remain high. However, customers who were previously paying less than nine dollars on the street illegally are now facing prices of more than 18 dollars-a hundred percent premium. The high costs are also preventing patients from mixing up strains and products to see what works for them. Some are worried that the prices will discourage the very people the program was intended to work for-those who could easily access the drug illegally.

What are marijuana company ownership rules in Ohio?

Medical marijuana licenses are strictly controlled in Ohio, making the program different from others in the country. Other states saw applicants submitting great applications and gave them provisional licenses that they would then sell. Ohio is attempting to prevent that from happening here, which is why ownership rules are strictly regulated.

A dispensary holder cannot sell their license until the dispensary has been open for a year. The person who is buying a medical marijuana license in the state has to go through the same criminal background and credit check as the original applicant. This is to ensure that only quality operators own and operate licenses and continue to follow the relevant rules. Lastly, many may not know that marijuana businesses can only sell the operating license, not the provisional license. An operating license is granted once inspectors believe that the company completed its promises in the application. This means they can sell the license to open the dispensary, cultivator and processor, but not to set up shop.

Noncompliance with state law can affect business license

Running a business is difficult enough in today's economic climate, but add to it an ever-changing landscape and it can become even more complicated. The marijuana business is heavily regulated with complex rules that are constantly evolving. Add to that the fact that rules differ from state to state and there is a completely different code of federal laws applicable as well. All this can be complicated for someone trying to run a business in the industry, in an attempt to help ailing individuals get relief from the symptoms from which they suffer.

Despite all the complications in the industry, missteps and mistakes are often heavily penalized. This means that any one misstep can mean an operating license is denied. Even when it has been granted, heavy competition in the state means that maintaining the license is crucial to keeping it. As mentioned previously on this blog, Ohio companies have been found violating state dispensary laws for behaviors such as hiring someone without notifying the necessary agencies.

Is CBD the same as medical marijuana?

A recent move in Ohio to separate hemp from state drug laws caused confusion in the state, with many claiming recreational marijuana had become legal in the state. However, this was not the case, as officials explained-industrial hemp and products made from its active ingredient, cannabidiol, have been legalized only. Ohio is one of the last states to legalize hemp.

Hemp and marijuana are similar in that they share the same genus-CBD-but they are from different species. Hemp has become popular because of CBD, which has medicinal qualities but lacks the tetrahydrocannabinol that produces the high. Hemp only has 0.3 percent of THC.

Medical Board rejects 2 conditions for marijuana use

Your involvement in the medical marijuana industry means you must remain compliant with state laws and alert to changes in those laws. This is a burgeoning industry, and Ohio is treading forward cautiously. You must be careful to avoid missteps that could cost you your license or your business.

One critical element of the medical marijuana industry is understanding the conditions the State Medical Board of Ohio considers eligible for treatment using marijuana. Patients whose conditions qualify for marijuana become your customers, and your knowledge of their medical issues may help you provide quality service, whether you are cultivating, testing, dispensing or acting in some other capacity. The list of qualifying conditions is always changing, but a recent Medical Board meeting rejected proposals for adding two challenging conditions to those approved for marijuana prescriptions.

Problems weighing down the medical marijuana industry

Many thought that the legalization of medical marijuana would bring about a change in the state, as people with the approved conditions could now legally obtain products that could improve the quality of their life. The industry was expected to blossom and large profits were forecast. Unfortunately, this has yet to happen as high prices have prevented many from purchasing medical marijuana legally and only a fraction of dispensaries have been granted operating licenses.

Another issue began plaguing the medical marijuana industry lately: People have begun claiming cultivators are not following sanitary procedures. Patients have claimed they have found a seed in the flower material, demonstrating the product is low quality. Additionally, there is dispute over the pesticides being used. While neem oil has been approved by the FDA as a safe pesticide, patients are afraid it will be toxic when consumed. Even though it is not clear if the pesticide is actually being used in the state, patients claim they have the right to know what is going in the product they are ingesting.

Companies found violating medical marijuana dispensary rules

Businesses across the nation are faced with a wide range of laws and regulations. Once medical marijuana became legal in Ohio, businesses scrambled to get their paperwork in order to get licenses to dispense it legally. The laws regulating the field are complex and vary from state to state, which is why companies may find it difficult to get it. Relevant boards are holding businesses to what they claimed on their applications, and this is creating problems for at least two in the state.

For the 60 available dispensary licenses in Ohio, 376 applications were submitted. Anyone with at least one percent ownership or equity in the company had to be declared, and the pharmacy board is now holding them to their board. Businesses have to comply with what they said on their application, including financial interests. Big ownership changes are prohibited until the dispensary has been open for one year.

What is the difference between CBD and medical marijuana?

Ohio residents have most likely recently begun to see a number of cannabidiol products pop up in the market-it can be found in items ranging from lotions and shampoos to boosters in workout smoothies. However, many are unaware of its relationship with marijuana and whether CBD, as it is commonly known, is legal or not.

CBD is the second most dominant ingredient in marijuana. It is an essential component of medical marijuana but it is derived directly from the hemp plant. The hemp plant can be considered a relative of the marijuana plant. Though CBD is found in marijuana, as are hundreds of other ingredients, alone it does not cause the 'high' marijuana does. In fact, the World Health Organization has concluded that it does not have the potential to be abused or to cause dependency.

Heavy regulations govern your dispensary

If you are one of the fortunate few authorized to distribute medical marijuana in Ohio, you understand the complex process of obtaining a license. The young and developing industry falls under heavy state regulation. A limited number of licenses are available, few applicants receive approval and all of licenses are expensive to obtain. In fact, Ohio is one of the toughest states in which to open a dispensary.

With this in mind, once you have your license to operate a medical marijuana dispensary, it should be one of your most critical priorities to protect and maintain your license. This means complying with state regulations for yourself, your employees and your store.

Ensure marijuana license complies with state law

Last week's blog discussed the ways in which the quality of medical marijuana in Ohio is tested and maintained. Manufacturers and growers have various legal obligations to fulfill to ensure their product meets the state's stringent requirements. Unfortunately, the majority of product being tested in the three state laboratories is rejected due to contaminants, but an explanation is provided so manufacturers can improve their product.

The mandatory testing places a heavy burden on small crops cultivators, and the time it takes to complete the tests means that the return on profits is delayed. These factors might dissuade small growers from going to the state approved laboratories, but they might not realize they have a legal obligation to follow these regulations. Failure to do so might result in an interruption or a permanent stoppage in the business. Even allegations of not following standard operating procedures in a testing lab can pose a threat to a company.

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The Patton Law Firm, LLC
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Solon, OH 44139-2981

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