Regulations finalized for Ohio medical cannabis growers

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A panel of Ohio lawmakers signed off on final rules governing the state’s new medical marijuana cultivators, approving 24 licensed sites that will carry hefty fees.

The cultivator rules, which also spell out application and license fees for MMJ dispensaries, product processors and testing labs, passed the Ohio Legislature’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review without objection on Monday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.

They will be officially filed by the end of April and are set to take effect before a May 6 statutory deadline.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported the rules didn’t change markedly in the five months since the Ohio Department of Commerce first proposed them.

A public comment period produced a few changes:

  • The commerce department can expand the number of licenses or triple the square footage for existing licensees starting in September 2018.
  • Rather than divide the state into four quadrants, as initially discussed, licenses will be awarded across the state to the best applicants.

The state will charge a $20,000 nonrefundable application fee and $180,000 license fee for large grows, and a $2,000 application fee and an $18,000 license fee for small cultivators.

The commerce department will begin taking applications for grower licenses in June. Applicants must meet baseline financial criteria and have local approval for their proposed site, among other requirements, the Plain Dealer reported.

Rules and regulations for dispensaries, processors and laboratories are still being worked on but must be in place by Sept. 8.