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Final Cultivation Rules for Ohio MMJ Program Increase Available Licenses

The final rules governing some key aspects of Ohio’s medical cannabis program have been released, with only minor changes to the rules proposed in November, Cleveland.com reports. The new scheme increases the number of available cultivation licenses from 18 to 24 and opts to award the licenses to the best applicants statewide rather than divide the state into four regions.

Half of the available cultivation licenses would be for grows up to 3,000 square feet, while the other half would be for grows up to 25,000 square feet. The Department of Commerce could be able to further expand the number of licenses or square footage for grows beginning in September 2018.

The cultivator rules, which also deal with application and licensing fees for dispensaries, processors and testing laboratories, cleared the legislature’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review without objection. Other rules and regulations for processors, labs, and dispensaries in Ohio are still being revised.

The new rules also don’t automatically disqualify individuals with a first-degree misdemeanor conviction from obtaining a license or from working as a dispensary employee so long as the conviction or guilty plea was more than 5 years ago.

Attorney David Patton said that provision doesn’t set a hard line between which offenses would disqualify a person from participating in the industry and could be setting up the state for a lawsuit.

“Nobody wants criminals involved in the medical marijuana program, but the fact is most of the people who understand this industry have been engaged in medical marijuana activities and recreational activities for decades,” he said in the report.

Justin Hunt, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program chief operating officer, argued that the list of offenses is clearly laid out in the rules.

The final version of all of the rules must be in place by Sept. 8.

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