Ohio’s medical marijuana program delayed by lack of operating testing labs

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A dearth of open cannabis testing labs is delaying Ohio’s medical marijuana program beyond its previously expected November launch date.

None of the state’s five licensed labs is testing cannabis for potency and purity yet, which is required by law before sales at dispensaries can begin, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Ohio approved medical marijuana in 2016, with a target launch date of September 2018.

But regulatory delays pushed back that timeline, costing potential marijuana businesses significant financial strain as real estate costs mount and revenue streams are halted.

The Ohio MMJ market is estimated to eventually be worth $400 million annually once the program matures, according to the Marijuana Business Factbook 2018.

Here’s a breakdown of the situation:

  • The two testing labs nearest to beginning operations are scheduled for final inspections in mid-December, an official with the Ohio Department of Commerce told the Enquirer.
  • The two labs closest to opening are North Coast Testing Laboratories in Streetsboro and Hocking College in Nelsonville.
  • Some of the state’s 56 MMJ dispensaries are setting up final inspections.
  • Two growers harvested their first cannabis in October.
  • The state’s Board of Pharmacy has waited to register MMJ patients until dispensaries were closer to beginning sales.