Draft Ohio cultivation rules: 18 licenses, huge fees

As many as 18 licenses would be available for medical marijuana growers in Ohio under proposed rules released by the state.

The draft regulations suggest two types of cultivation licenses: one for grows up to 15,000 square feet, and another for those totaling no more than 1,600 square feet. The state would award a dozen licenses for large cultivation operations and six for the smaller facilities.

Fees for cultivation licenses would be some of the most expensive in the country, behind only Illinois and New York, if the regulations are adopted.

Application fees for large grows would run $20,000, while winners would have to shell out $180,000 to secure a license. The state would charge $2,000 to apply for a license to run a smaller grow, with licensing fees totaling $18,000, according to Cleveland.com.

The draft rules are expected to be posted for public comment on the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program’s website Wednesday.

The state’s commerce department has until May of next year to establish regulations for growers. Rules for dispensaries, processors and testing labs must be in place by September 2017.

Last August, a bipartisan budget panel allocated $1.8 million to implement the new medical marijuana program.