The Ohio state flag flapping on a windy day in the state's capital city.

Jeff Kubina

Ohio Regulators Approved for Additional MMJ Program Funds

The Ohio Department of Commerce and State Board of Pharmacy received the greenlight to spend another $6 million over the next two years for costs related to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, including funds for legal costs related to potential lawsuits over the state’s licensing process, reports. The agencies anticipate being able to both repay the state and operate using money derived from licensing fees – expected to reach $10.8 million annually – by next year.

The funding request by the Commerce Department includes $306,444 for legal expenses related to the administrative hearing process, $3.9 million to set up the required seed-to-sale database and the e-licensing system, and $180,000 to maintain both systems for the program’s first year.

The Board of Pharmacy’s request includes $1.6 million for a consultant to develop a scoring system, and to score, the state’s dispensary applications. The board has hired North Highland Company for the tasks at a rate of $729,000 through a competitive bid process; however, if the applications exceed 250 the rate could rise. The board has budgeted $1.3 million for the scoring work.

Additionally, the board has earmarked $62,500 for legal fees and $250,000 to set up a toll-free help line.

According to the report, Ohio has already collected more than $2.3 million in revenue from application fees. In all, 24 cultivator licenses will be issued – 12 for large grows and 12 for small grows – and licensees will pay $20,000 and $200,000, respectively, to renew those licenses.

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