Ohio Delays Awarding Licenses To Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Photo Credit: Richard Vogel

Ohio’s medical marijuana problem has hit another snag.

Hundreds of applicants seeking to operate medical marijuana dispensaries as part of the state program were supposed to learn whether or not they’ve received licenses on Wednesday. That announcement has now been postponed until June.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy said it canceled Wednesday’s special meeting two days after it was announced because information gathering was incomplete.

A spokesman says the board is awaiting background check information and to verify that proposed locations are at least 500 feet from schools and churches.

Cleveland.com reports the Ohio Department of Commerce didn’t verify whether applicants met minimum requirements before awarding grower licenses. At least four sites failed to meet the 500-foot buffer rule.

The pharmacy board can award dispensary licenses for as many as 57 sites statewide. There were 376 applications. Winners will now be announced at the board’s three-day monthly meeting beginning June 4.

After two years of preparations, Ohio’s medical marijuana program is supposed to launch on September 8. Several court battles are ongoing over the choosing of cultivator licenses, and Ohio’s Auditor found flaws in the selection process.

Some lawmakers have proposed starting from scratch, but the Auditor and several Democrats have said it’s too late for that.

Earlier this month, advocates for legalizing marijuana won approval to begin gathering signatures for a constitutional amendment that would regulate marijuana like alcohol. If that ballot issue passes, it would keep the medical marijuana program in place.