Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program Has Flaws, But Legislators Disagree About Fixes

Photo Credit: Evan Mitsui

Ohio’s medical marijuana program is supposed to be fully operational on September 8. But there are several court battles over problems with the process of choosing cultivators, and some fear it might delay the start of the program.

Republican state Sen. Bill Coley says patients need Ohio’s medical marijuana program to be ready to go on day one. So he’s come up with legislation that would allow a do-over in the scoring process.

“You’d rescore with independent people who don’t have conflicts doing the scoring,” Coley says. “And you’d look at all of the scores and anybody that scored above the lowest the current provisional license holders, if they scored above the current provisional license holders, they’d be granted an additional license.”

But some lawmakers, like Democratic Sen. Kenny Yuko, are not on board.

“It would be challenging, time-wise, to get anything passed,” Yuko says.

Yuko says the focus now needs to be moving to get the program in place by September 8. Already, Commerce Department officials say not all the growers, dispensaries and manufacturers will be ready by then.

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost also says the program can’t be paused, although he’s continuing his audit.

Yost found that some growers were wrongly excluded from licenses due to scoring errors, and that some Commerce Department employees had improper access to the online accounts of application reviewers.