As expected, Ohio misses deadline for medical marijuana rollout

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Ohio blew past Saturday’s deadline for rolling out its potential $400 million medical cannabis program, but many in the industry are confident better days are coming soon.

It’s not uncommon for state marijuana programs to be delayed, sometimes for years, by legal, regulatory or logistical snags, said Tom Rosenberger, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association of Ohio.

“When you think about it, you’re starting the most regulated industry the state probably has from scratch,” he said. “So getting that right takes a little bit of time.”

Licensees will combine to invest more than $100 million in Ohio even before sales have begun, Rosenberger said.

The three offices that share responsibility for Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program – the Commerce Department and the state medical and pharmacy boards – say Ohio’s two-year implementation schedule was aggressive.

Ohio is still a number of months away from an operational market, based on marijuana growing cycles.

Licensed cultivators started planting marijuana seeds about a month ago. It takes 4-6 months for plants to reach maturity and then they must be processed into MMJ products.

State officials emphasized the progress that’s been made, including certifying about 250 doctors and provisionally licensing 26 large and small growers, four testing labs, 40 processors and 56 dispensaries.

Ohio’s MMJ law permits plant material, edibles, oils, tinctures and patches. The law prohibits the use of medical marijuana by smoking or combustion, but vaping is allowed.

Marijuana Business Factbook 2018 projects Ohio’s MMJ market will reach $400 million a year when the program is mature.

– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily