Since last September, you have been hearing about medical marijuana in Ohio. For months, it was nothing more than a foggy haze of generalities. Now, things are beginning to take shape. The Department of Commerce received public comment on the proposed cultivator rules and is in the public comment phase of the dispensary rules. Here is what we know:
- A “Level I cultivator” means a cultivator that is permitted to operate up to 25,000 square footage of space designated as the marijuana cultivation area. A “Level II cultivator” means a cultivator that is permitted to operate up to 3,000 square footage of space designated as the marijuana cultivation area. Until September 8, 2018, the director of the department of commerce or the director’s designee may issue up to 12 Level I and 12 Level II cultivator provisional licenses, with no more than two Level I and two Level II cultivator provisional licenses being issued in any one designated territory. And by the way, there is no useful definition of “designated territory.”
- The dispensary rules are still in the public comment phase, but it has been recommended that the Board of Pharmacy may issue up to 40 dispensary licenses in the State. Each biennial dispensary license will cost $80,000.
As far as zoning, medical marijuana is unique. Unlike adult entertainment or billboards, which must be zoned into certain areas of town rather than prohibited, you can prevent the medical marijuana supple chain from taking root in your municipality. Under the express language of R.C. 3796.29, the “legislative authority of a municipal corporation may adopt an ordinance, or a board of township trustees may adopt a resolution, to prohibit or limit the number of cultivators, processors, or retail dispensaries licensed under this chapter within the municipal corporation or within the unincorporated territory of the township, respectively.
While there still is time before a cultivator application will be approved or a dispensary license will be issued, you should start discussing if your council or board of trustees wants to prohibit or limit the number of cultivators, processors, or retail dispensaries. And, if you do, you should begin the legislative process soon.