Dispensaries are finally gearing up to open in Ohio, and WTRF got an inside peek at Cresco Labs, a dispensary located in Wintersville, Ohio. Click here, or watch the video below, to check out their look inside the facility.
Why has Ohio's medical marijuana program been delayed?
Medical marijuana has technically been legal in Ohio since the fall of 2016, when Ohio HB 523 was signed into law. However, it takes time for an industry to uproot itself and move into a new state, or grow itself from scratch. There is so much to do that the process literally takes years, on top of the delays typical with the implementation of any government program.
As a result, all cultivators, dispensaries, testers and processors did not meet the September 8, 2018 deadline to be operational. Many doctors, like those at Ohio Marijuana Card, were able to join or open practices because there are far less legal/logistical hurdles compared to marijuana cultivation.
There are several reasons for delays with programs like these, and here are just a few to consider. Companies must:
Invest with their own capital or partner with an investor
Find a location
Apply for a license
Be granted a provisional license
Build/remodel their location
Seek city approval
Seek state approval
Obtain official license
Hire employees to operate the business
If there's a holdup from the government or the business during any one of these hurdles, the company is delayed, restricted, or even shut down. And because there are literally hundreds of businesses associated with Ohio's medical marijuana industry, mistakes, blunders and the usual bureaucratic mishaps occurred, forcing delays.
As is typical with any cannabis program, additional lawsuits from companies and lawmakers were filed. Some required settling before implementation, which also delayed the program.
Thankfully, since many of these businesses have operated in other states with medicinal or recreational cannabis programs, the delays have been surprisingly minimal in comparison with some other states. The time it takes from the law being signed to full implementation is usually between 1-5 years, depending on the state. Ohio is doing pretty well, with two years since the bill was signed.
When will Ohio medical marijuana dispensaries open?
Ohio's MMJ program may be doing well compared to some other states, but that doesn't mean that patients will suddenly be free of their frustration that the program has taken so damn long to get rolling. Thankfully, the dark cloud of frustration may be lifting very soon. A great many of the larger hurdles have finally been passed, and most (or nearly all) of the incoming medical marijuana businesses are far along in their process of opening.
Cresco Labs, as well as a few other dispensaries, are hoping to open this winter, with some aiming for December, and others aiming for Jan-March. It's expected that nearly every aspect of the industry should be fully operational by spring/summer 2019, if not sooner.
That being said, there could still be unforeseen delays. Ohio's new governor, Mike DeWine, could unexpectedly kill the program. The chances of that are very slim, but there is still a minute possibility that he could put a pause on the program's implementation to evaluate it. Or, more hurdles will present themselves that cause delays with some companies. After all, a few companies are still building their facilities and finalizing details.
Regardless, expect the first dispensaries to open in December, but also anticipate limited product during the first run, since not all cultivators will be ready by then. We will keep you posted on the official open dates, so follow this blog and watch this space for that news!
If you are an Ohioan suffering from one of these 21 medical conditions you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana. Click here to learn more about what Ohio Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at 1-866-457-5559 and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment.