Ohio Pharmacy Board delays licensing to Marijuana Dispensaries

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on May 24, 2018.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy delayed the expected announcement of medical marijuana dispensary licenses Wednesday.

The Pharmacy Board said it canceled the special meeting two days after it was announced because information gathering was incomplete.

According to Cleveland.com, the Ohio Department of Commerce is awaiting background check information and to verify whether the proposed locations are at least 500 feet from schools and churches, the minimum requirements to get the licenses. Meanwhile, at least four sites failed to meet the 500-foot buffer rule.

Cameron McNamee, a board spokesman, said “Postponing the announcement of the awards is due to some unexpected delays in information required to validate an applicant meets the minimum license qualifications.”

“It does not have to do with the applicant's scores, as those have been finalized since March. The Board fully expects that all outstanding information will be obtained or confirmed in order to move ahead with the issuance of provisional licenses in June,” he added.

While there are 376 applications, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy can award dispensary licenses for as many as 57 sites statewide and the winners will be announced at the board's three-day monthly meeting beginning June 4.

The medical marijuana was legalized for the cultivation, processing, testing, dispensing, and medical use after the House Bill 523 took effect September 8, 2016.

After two years of preparations, Ohio’s medical marijuana program is supposed to launch on September 8 statutory deadlines to be fully operational.

The state has been divided into four regions for the purposes of dispensary licenses while only 10 dispensaries will be initially licensed in northwest Ohio. Those regions were further divided into districts, so Lucas County will only be allowed two licenses when the program opens.

The commerce department - one of three state agencies overseeing Ohio's medical marijuana program - awarded 24 provisional cultivator licenses last year. Twelve went to large growers with up to 25,000 square feet of grow space, and 12 were for small growers with up to 3,000 square feet.

On the other hand, dozens of doctors have received certificates to recommend medical marijuana to their patients to treat nearly two dozen conditions allowed under the law in Ohio. However, the Pharmacy Board has not set up a registry for patients, who must register to receive a patient card necessary to buy medical marijuana.

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