Growing Pot Industry Offers Breaks to Entice Minorities

Andre Shavers was sentenced to five years on felony probation after authorities burst into the house where he was living in one of Oakland's most heavily policed neighborhoods and found a quarter ounce of marijuana.

After the 2007 raid, Shavers couldn't leave the state without permission. He was subject to police searches at any time. He walked to the corner store one night for maple syrup and came back in a police car. Officers wanted to search his home again.

All the while, cannabis storefronts flourished elsewhere in a state where medical marijuana was authorized in 1996.


Ohioans Buying Michigan Medical Pot Ahead of Rules Being Set

Ohioans wanting medical marijuana have been crossing the border into Michigan, where some Detroit-area dispensaries will sell to out-of-staters who are issued recommendations for cannabis use months ahead of the drug becoming available in their home state, according to officials from a company providing the recommendations.

Those recommendations, given by doctors working for a Toledo business or any other Ohio physician, won’t necessarily help someone in court if they are busted for having pot into Ohio. Possession of less than 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) is a minor misdemeanor in Ohio with a maximum $150 fine, but could lead to someone losing their driving privileges for six months.


Medical marijuana offers prospect of jobs in Ohio

When the state of Ohio goes through the process of selecting the 24 growers who will cultivate cannabis for medicinal uses, the selectors will not know the identities of the applicants. The state wants to ensure there is no pressure, political or otherwise, in the granting of permits.

That’s how it should be, given the very lucrative nature of this flourishing industry nationwide.

In 2016, legal marijuana sales – for medicinal and recreational purposes – topped $6.7 billion, a 24 percent increase over 2015.

There are 26 states that allow the use of cannabis. Ohio joined the list in 2016 when Republican Gov. John R. Kasich signed into law a bill passed by the GOP-controlled General Assembly.


Marijuana Advocates Turn Focus to Educating Medical Pros

Now that medical marijuana legalization has passed, the Ohio Rights Group is turning its attention toward educating medical professionals about the healing potential of cannabis.

Oberlin native John Pardee, group founder, kicked off that effort Monday night with a fundraiser at Town Hall restaurant in Cleveland where $4,500 was raised to send doctors, nurses and medical students to a Medical Cannabis Education Symposium in Columbus at the end of the month.

The goal is to fund 20 students, said Brandon Bashak, an Elyria resident and deputy director of North Central Ohio NORML, a group with a mission to shift public opinion on pot legalization.


Medical Marijuana: It's here. It's legal. What Ohio business leaders need to know.

A lot of confusion and misinformation still surrounds the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, according to state and industry experts.

In March, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce hosted a panel discussion on the business benefits and challenges of Ohio’s medical marijuana law.

House Bill 523 authorized a basic framework — legalized medical marijuana for qualifying medical conditions, but prohibited its use by smoking or combustion — and made Ohio one of 28 states to establish a public medical marijuana program. But it left state agencies to establish specific rules and guidelines.


Washington must address marijuana's official status

In both West Virginia and Ohio, it’s official: Breaking the law is not against the law — at least when marijuana is involved.

Both states have legislation making use of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, legal for health care purposes. West Virginia’s measure was just signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice. Ohio’s has been in effect for some time, but state officials are still working out the details.

But possession of marijuana in any form is illegal under federal law. That puts our states, in concert with 26 others that have “legalized” medicinal marijuana, in the position of advocating behavior that is criminal by federal statute.


Regulations for Ohio Medical Marijuana Growers Finalized

Medical marijuana will be grown on up to 24 licensed sites statewide -- subject to some of the highest fees in the country -- under the final rules presented to lawmakers Monday.

The cultivator portion of the rules, which also details the application and license fees for retail dispensaries, product processors and testing labs, cleared the Ohio legislature's Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review without objection from the panel.

The rules will be officially filed later this month and take effect before the May 6 statutory deadline.


Marijuana fees shouldn't be cheap, Ohio

The cost of doing business as a medical-marijuana provider in Ohio isn’t going to be cheap. And that’s probably a good thing.

State regulators organizing the infrastructure for what will be the state’s medical-marijuana regulating body have said that licenses for businesses involved in growing and selling marijuana under a law approved by state voters in 2016 will be more expensive than in many other states that allow medical marijuana.

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program plans to charge a $20,000 application fee and $180,000 license fee for larger growers, and a $2,000 application fee and $18,000 license fee for smaller growers.


Medical marijuana growth in Youngstown intrigues Boardman business man

The Ohio Department of Commerce announced Friday that medical marijuana growers can start applying for Ohio licenses as early as June.

The application and the license both come at a hefty price — but a Boardman native believes it’s a business venture worth exploring.

Brian Kessler lives in Los Angeles, but is from Boardman.

His company, SBL Venture Capital, invests in marijuana and has been advocating to bring medical marijuana to Ohio for years.

“I’m very excited,” Kessler said. “The fact is that we’re now moving down the path. They chose the process where they’re looking for 12 small growers and 12 large growers.”

Kessler said the medical marijuana market is extremely competitive.

He wants Youngstown to have a stake in the business.


John Kasich Says Medical Marijuana Has No Place in Stopping Ohio's Opioid Crisis

Ohio Gov. John Kasich discounted recent studies and state lawmakers from both parties on Thursday when he said his state’s medical marijuana program would not help alleviate its opioid crisis.

While at a news conference announcing new limits on opioid prescriptions, a reporter asked Kasich what role medical marijuana might play in reducing the increasing number of opiate overdose deaths in Ohio, according to Cleveland.com.


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