Sarah Climaco

The law establishing Ohio’s medical cannabis program mandates the program be fully operational by September 8 — hopes for meeting that deadline, however, are already doomed due to delays in the licensing of cannabis cultivators. But now, Ohio patients will likely have to wait even longer than expected as delays are affecting other parts of the process, including the statewide patient registry and the licensing of cannabis processors, according to a Cleveland.com report.

Ohio’s patient registry was supposed to come online in July in preparation for the market’s September launch.

With cannabis laws in limbo, patients have been able to acquire letters from their doctors granting an “affirmative defense” against cannabis enforcement actions. Now that cultivators are behind schedule, however, officials plan to sit on launching the registry until less than 60 days before products hit dispensary shelves because the “affirmative defense letters” expire 60 days after the registry launches, which would leave patients vulnerable to prosecution.

Meanwhile, applications for cannabis processors — who will manufacture the products in Ohio’s pending marketplace — left a lot to be desired. Of the 104 applications, fewer than 40 met the minimum standards. 

Department of Commerce spokesperson Mark Hamlin said that the applications’ scoring process was taking longer than expected, but that all companies who met the minimum requirements would receive provisional licenses in the coming weeks.

Hamlin also said that some of Ohio‘s smaller licensed cultivators have requested extensions to the nine-month preparation period because their facilities will not be ready.

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