Officials confirm that Ohio’s medical marijuana program will not be fully operational and therefore not meet its September 8 deadline.
The Medical Marijuana Control Program met with a state advisory board and laid out the issues: cultivators, testing labs and recommending physicians are all in place but processors have yet to be selected.
The 104 applicants are still waiting for the state’s Department of Commerce to release the licenses, according to Mark Hamlin, senior policy advisor for the department.
“Our understanding of the industry and our expectation is that there will be opportunity for some of those processors to be up and running at the point when plant material is ready,” Hamlin said, per the Ohio Dispatch.
While much of the focus has been on delays in awarding licenses, to date only two cultivators have been given the green light to grow cannabis.
Those who have not received certificates of operation will now have to seek extensions before they can be inspected and approved.
Meanwhile, the patient registration portal has not yet come on line. The portal was supposed to be ready in July.
Erin Reed, senior legal counsel for the state pharmacy board, said the portal is ready to go live but will be turned on closer to when products are ready so that patients remain protected under the law.
So far, 185 doctors are certified to recommend medical marijuana, and more are being added each month. The doctors tend to cluster in population centers, though the distribution is starting to spread more across the state.
As delays and bureaucratic issues mount, advocates and MMJ patients wonder when the program will be up and running.
“My child has a medical condition for which he has been seen and approved by more than one physician…how much longer do we need to wait?” asks one parent in Cleveland.