State regulators are preparing today to announce the locations of up to 57 retail dispensaries across the state, where patients can buy weed under Ohio’s new medical marijuana law.
A total of 376 prospective marijuana retailers applied, including such prominent local figures as the Rev. Damon Lynch III of New Prospect Baptist Church in Roselawn, and Jimmy Gould, co-founder of CannAscend Ohio.
CannAscend lost its bid for a cultivator’s license in a controversial selection process but is still in the running for a dispensary license under the name CannAscend Alternative LLC.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy – one of three state agencies regulating Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program – is expected to name the winners of provisional licenses to operate medical marijuana dispensaries across the state Monday afternoon at its regular board meeting.
The state originally allowed up to 60 dispensary licenses to be awarded in 28 geographic districts. But no applications were received in two districts.
Locally, the board will award up to six provisional licenses in Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties.
The dispensaries will be able allowed to sell edibles, oils, patches and vaping concentrates to medical marijuana patients with nearly two dozen qualifying conditions.
But smoking medical marijuana is still illegal in Ohio, and the dispensaries are banned from selling the marijuana flower for smoking.
The dispensaries are also prohibited from being located within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground, public park or community addiction services provider.
And they must be inspected by the state and granted a certificate to operate before they open for business.
Medical marijuana patients will have to wait to buy weed until the mandated Sept. 8 deadline for the program to become fully operational.
Only patients and caregivers registered with the state who have received medical ID cards and recommendations from a physician will be allowed to buy from the dispensaries.
So far, 89 doctors have been approved by the State Medical Board to recommend medical marijuana once the program goes live.
And an online a patient registry and portal is being set up by the pharmacy board.
The dispensaries will join 25 large and small marijuana growers as the only businesses so far to receive provisional licenses to operate.
No other marijuana businesses essential to the program have been licensed as required under the law.
That includes up to 40 provisional licenses expected to be awarded to companies that will process marijuana into edibles and other permissible forms; and an unknown number of testing labs necessary to ensure the quality of the medical marijuana sold in the state.