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Ohio Bill Would Put Hold on and Force MMJ License Review

Legislation introduced in Ohio would prevent the final medical cannabis licenses from being awarded but does not include language to delay the Sept. 8 deadline to roll out the program required by the law, according to a Toledo Blade report. The move comes two days after six medical cannabis applicants sued the state claiming regulators didn’t follow their own rules in scoring and awarding the 12 licenses to grow cannabis for the state program.

What would the legislation do? The measure, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Bill Coley, would require the Commerce Department to suspend the licensing process for 30 days as Auditor Dave Yost completes his review of the process. The Department of Commerce would then have 30 days to make any fixes, including potentially rescoring the application for which provisions licenses have already been issues.

Yost called for the process to stop in December after it was discovered that one of the application scorers was a convicted felon.

“This is an epic fail. I’m outraged. And you know it really calls into question the integrity of the entire process. The Commerce Department needs to hit the brakes, hit the pause button and needs to arrange for an independent review of how this all happened – and whether the scoring and application process is really reliable. Is it on the up and up? Because right now, I think there are major, major question marks.” – Yost to National Public Radio-affiliate WOSU

Thomas Rosenberger, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association of Ohio said the measure would delay the process, despite Coley’s measure not pushing back the deadline.

“[Yost] did not want to prolong patient suffering by putting Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program on hold while he completes his audit. Senate Bill 264 would do just that by delaying the issuance of certificates of operation for months.” – Rosenberger to the Blade

Nothing in the measure would allow provisional licensees – some of which have already broken ground on their facilities – to keep their licenses.

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