Anticipating medical marijuana's arrival in Ohio, police turn to Colorado for help

Ohio police departments are learning how to interpret the law and medical marijuana in the new year.

So they are turning to experts from Colorado for direction on arrests, cases and how to handle the drug in the field.

Blue Ash Police Chief Paul Hartinger said medical marijuana presents a new era for law enforcement and that's why he wants to make sure his officers are ready.

"I think it's imperative to keep my officers up to speed, every day, every month, every week, whatever it is," Hartinger said.

Hartinger is big on training and now his focus is shifting to medical marijuana.

"What are the things that I need to know on the streets so that I do my job well and do it right but still enforce the laws that are on the books?" Hartinger said.


The rush is on for Ohio's marijuana dispensary licenses

Today, the Ohio Department of Commerce will stop accepting applications for its first crop of medical marijuana dispensary licenses. Although only 60 licenses will be issued, some industry insiders estimate that applications will number in the hundreds.

"It's a very hot market," said Thomas Rosenberger, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association's recently formed Ohio chapter. Up to 18 dispensaries in Northeast Ohio will get in on the ground floor of what is expected to be a $300 million to $400 million per year industry.

But first, would-be weed-dispensers must clear some major hurdles including bureaucratic and financial requirements, logistical challenges and legal risks.


Marijuana legalization 2017: States and cities where weed won this November

Marijuana remains illegal at a federal level, is classified as a Schedule I drug, and is still seen as a “life-wrecking” substance by the country’s Attorney General. But cannabis advocates made enormous strides in elections across the country this week. By Wednesday, it became clear that, just like last year, a scattering of marijuana-related reforms occurred throughout the United States, including the election of candidates who want to institute those reforms.


Marijuana won Tuesday's election

Voters in two states chose new governors on Tuesday. Both of those elections -- as well as the results of a number of local races across the country -- will have huge implications for efforts to legalize marijuana.

Here's an overview of cannabis-specific ballot measures that voters approved, along with details on how the Democratic gubernatorial wins in New Jersey and Virginia will boost marijuana reform campaigns in those states.

New Jersey Governor-Elect Phil Murphy


Ohio: Cleveland city council okays medical marijuana operations, but with restrictions

Cleveland City Council voted 15-1 Monday night to adopt zoning legislation that will allow state-licensed medical marijuana cultivators, processors, retail dispensaries and testing laboratories to operate in limited zones throughout the city.

Councilwoman Dona Brady was the lone dissenting vote. She felt the restrictions did not go far enough.

The restrictions roughly match those imposed by the state of Ohio, in rules completed this summer after medical marijuana was legalized last year. The biggest restriction is that operations are prohibited within 500 feet of schools, parks, churches and libraries.


Surprising medical marijuana side effect: More people claiming disability

Medical marijuana laws are becoming more popular across the country, but legalizing the drug for medicinal purposes can have a major unintended consequence.


Halfway houses, medical marijuana among zoning issues under consideration in Rossford

Rossford officials are tackling zoning questions related to halfway houses in the city and the pending sale of medical marijuana.

Zoning inspector Mark Zuchowski informed the zoning committee he believes a halfway house has opened in Rossford. Currently, such facilities are not required to notify the city of their intentions. City officials said they have an idea of where the house is located but have been unable to confirm the exact location.

Rossford law director Kevin Heban is working on potential legislation for city council.

"The way it stands now, we don't have any way of tracking them," Mr. Heban said. "We don't have registration requirements or anything, so that's one of the things council wants us to look at."


Roadblock to medical marijuana solved? College wants to test cannabis

Hocking College is the only applicant that has publicized its bid to test medical marijuana in Ohio. Universities and colleges have until Sept. 22 to apply with the Ohio Department of Commerce. Each applicant must pay a $2,000 fee. If selected, each university will pay a $18,000 fee to operate its testing lab.

Even as Hocking College President Betty Young announced her college's plans to seek the testing laboratory, she did not take a stance on medical marijuana. 

“The decision to lead this medical cannabis lab effort was not based on the merits or lack of merits regarding cannabis,” Young said in a statement. 

Still, college officials estimate the lab would create more than a dozen new jobs in the Appalachian county.


Residents in these 3 states are the likeliest to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana in 2018

Few industries, if any, are growing as quickly as legal marijuana. According to cannabis research firm ArcView, the North American legal-weed industry generated $6.9 billion in sales in 2016, which still pales in comparison with the $46.4 billion in sales estimated on the black market. However, by 2021 it's believed that the legal North American pot market will have vaulted in value to $21.6 billion, representing a compound annual growth rate of 26%. 


Ohio: Local Medical Marijuana Companies Struggling to Find Banks

More than two months after applications for cultivator licenses were due to the state, many medical marijuana businesses are struggling to find banking institutions that will hold their money.

Passed in June 2016, House Bill 523 legalized medical marijuana in the state of Ohio, although it's still illegal at the federal level.

But Attorney David Patton, who represents several start-up medical marijuana business, told News 5 that even state-chartered banks are rejecting his clients.

“It makes absolutely no sense to me,” Patton said. “I think these financial institutions are being unreasonably and ridiculously risk averse.”

At least for the time being, Patton said his clients are stuck dealing with cash. He argues that it’s a huge safety risk.


Subscribe to RSS - Ohio