Fully operational Ohio medical marijuana market many months away

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Ohio is deferring the launch of its medical marijuana patient registry because of delays in getting the MMJ market off the ground.

The deferral indicates that state officials believe a fully operational medical marijuana market, initially set to launch Sept. 8, could take a number of more months.

The delay is related to Ohio’s affirmative defense clause that currently protects from prosecution unregistered patients who obtain marijuana from other states.

But that protection expires 60 days after the patient registry for Ohio’s legal MMJ industry is up and running.

“We don’t want that situation where a patient has to use affirmative defense, but affirmative defense has expired, and they don’t have the option to go to a dispensary,” Grant Miller, spokesman for the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy told The (Cincinnati) Enquirer.

The online patient registry was scheduled to launch this month.

State officials said they now will wait until they know when MMJ products will be widely available.

Ohio officials recently confirmed that Sept. 8 wasn’t a realistic date for an operational MMJ market, but they didn’t provide a new timeline.

Only one of the 25 cultivators licensed by the state so far has received permission to start growing, meaning growers won’t be in a position to to meet the initial September launch date for the market.

Another chokepoint could come with products waiting to be tested.