Recent “Buzz” Regarding Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana continues to be an issue throughout the state as City Council in each of Ohio’s largest cities are making decisions on how to handle cultivation within city limits.

Columbus plans to allow growers to build cultivation sites in manufacturing districts within the city. Recently, City officials signed off on six applicants who are seeking approval to cultivate medical marijuana within city limits.

Cincinnati City Council’s Law and Public Safety Committee voted this week to allow medical marijuana cultivators in the city. However, the issue still needs approval by the entire City Council.

Earlier this month, Cleveland City Council partially rolled back a complete moratorium on medical marijuana businesses and will now allow cultivation within city limits. Cleveland will keep in place bans on processing and dispensing medical marijuana.

State officials have ultimate approval authority on which applications will receive licenses. The current regulations allow for 24 cultivator licenses which includes12 large cultivators (up to 25,000 square feet of marijuana) and 12 small cultivators (up to 3,000 square feet of marijuana). Submission of applications for small cultivators ended on June 16, 2017 and larger cultivators ends today, June 30, 2017. The applicants must show they have local city/municipality approval which has caused a flurry of activity the last few months. It is unclear when decisions will be made on the applications.

Several cities, including Cleveland, recently voted to allow cultivation out of concern for losing tax money to other municipalities. While some municipalities embraced medical marijuana, others banned medical marijuana businesses or passed temporary moratoriums in order to further research the issue. Many municipalities have concerns due to the fact marijuana is still an illegal substance under federal law. Notable local municipalities include:

  • Bexley: Eighteen-month moratorium
  • Canal Winchester: Ban
  • Dublin: Ban
  • Grandview Heights: Six-month moratorium
  • Hilliard: Six-month moratorium
  • New Albany: Six-month moratorium
  • Upper Arlington: One-year moratorium
  • Worthington: Ban

Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program enacted rules for cultivators last month and come September, will finalize rules regarding processing, laboratory testing and dispensing. The program is slated to become operational in September 2018.