Ohio committee begins outlining medical marijuana laws

DAYTON — The Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee announced the first steps Tuesday in regulating the drug in the buckeye state.

The 14-member committee is responsible for crafting the details of the vague medical marijuana law passed by Ohio voters in June.

12 large growers will be licensed in the state with six smaller cultivators also getting approval from the committee. All are required to be ready to grow marijuana within nine months of getting their licenses.

The licenses are not cheap, with a large grower paying $200,000 and a smaller operation required to pay $20,000.

“The medical marijuana control commission is setting the fees so they can have enough money to inspect, make sure the rules are followed, enforcement,” Republican state representative Dr. Steve Huffman said.

To apply, candidates will need adequate capital funding, quality assurance, security plans and qualified testing. Supports are hopeful the first prescriptions will be ready by next summer.

“There’s an opportunity for this to happen, but there also are protections in place for communities who don’t want to have this happen in their own backyard,” Chris Kerschner with the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce said.

The parameters set by the committee Tuesday are not final and more needs to be decided, including regulations for manufacturing and distributing. The law voters passed in June gives the entire program two years to begin operations.

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