The dome on top of the Ohio state capitol building.

Mike King

It’s been almost five months since Ohio legalized medical cannabis, but it could be more than a year and a half until the program is up and running, according to a report from the Toledo Blade. While the state Department of Commerce has submitted proposed rules for cannabis growers, the earliest deadline for final approval of those rules is May 6. Another set of rules governing the testing laboratories and processors are expected from the department in the coming months, but a finalized version is not required until Sept. 8.

Aaron Marshall, spokesman for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, said that advocates have no choice but “to let the process play out.”

“It’s sort of the drudgery of state government,” he said in the report. “As much as we’d like to push the pace, there doesn’t seem to be a desire among state regulators to do so. So we wait, and wait, and wait.”

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy and State Medical Board have already proposed their own rules for certifying physicians and operation of dispensaries – which will be led by pharmacists. The Pharmacy Board proposal would see up to 40 provisional licenses issued in the state, allowing for more if necessitated by demand. The Medical Board rules dictate which physicians may or may not issue recommendations and receive certifications.

The Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review is expected to take up the proposals later this year.

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