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.


Ohio plans to award medical marijuana cultivation licenses in November. Could that delay the program?

State regulators have set a November target for awarding medical marijuana cultivation licenses, causing concern Ohio's new program will be delayed past its September 2018 deadline.

The Ohio Department of Commerce received 185 applications for 24 cultivator licenses statewide -- 12 for small growers and 12 for large growers -- in June.


Area businesses try to get ahead of Ohio marijuana issue

With just over a year to go before medical marijuana becomes legally available in Ohio, employers are already updating their drug policies to cover workers on the job.

Traditionally, company drug and alcohol policies have prohibited anyone from having illegal drugs like marijuana in their system. But what happens when that drug becomes legal?

Many manufacturers have adopted zero-tolerance policies that prohibit medical marijuana use, even at home and on weekends. Ross McGregor, executive vice president of Pentaflex, a metal stamping company in Springfield, said safety is his number one concern.


Northeast Ohio Would Get 18 Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, According to Draft Proposal

Cuyahoga County would be home to 5 of 18 medical marijuana dispensaries in Northeast Ohio, according to a proposal released by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy.

As of the other state agencies responsible with overseeing the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, the Board of Pharmacy determines dispensary locations.

According to a draft released last week, in addition to Cuyahoga County’s five dispensaries, Summit County would be allotted three dispensaries. Lorain,  Medina, Wayne & Holmes Counties would share three dispensaries. Stark, Tuscarawas, Carroll and Columbiana Counties would split three dispensaries. Trumbull, Ashtabula and Mahoning Counties would share three dispensaries. Lake, Portage and Geauga Counties would share just one dispensary. 


Companies Unwilling to Distinguish Between Marijuana and Opioid Use Are Struggling to Find Employees

Manufacturing firms are complaining about a lack of suitable workforce, but continue to reject applicants who test positive for cannabis use.

Middle America has an employment problem. But while Donald Trump tries his hardest to bring back the coal industry and bemoan the outsourcing of America’s industrial labor, there are a huge number of low-skill, high-pay manufacturing jobs sitting vacant because drug tests weed out most of the viable candidates, and employers are largely unwilling to change their zero tolerance policies. 


Ohio to Buy $6 Million Seed-To-Sale Marijuana Tracking System

Regulators of Ohio’s nascent medical marijuana industry got approval Monday to spend an additional $6 million over the next two years to set up a seed-to-sale tracking system, pay consultants and buy a licensing system.

The Ohio Controlling Board gave the spending go-ahead to the state Department of Commerce and Pharmacy Board. It is expected that fees paid by the industry at a later date will cover the costs, said Justin Hunt, chief operating officer at the commerce department for the Medical Marijuana Control Program.

“None of it is going to be taxpayer shouldered. It’ll be run by the fees we generate,” Hunt said.

Hunt told lawmakers on Monday that the program would later ask for funding to purchase video monitoring and a closed loop payment systems.


Ohio senator wants feds to lift prohibition on marijuana

The state senator who helped push through Ohio’s medical marijuana law wants to ask U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the U.S. Congress to re-classify cannabis.

State Sen. Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, introduced a resolution in the Ohio Senate on Wednesday that would make a formal request to the feds to drop marijuana from the list of controlled substances.

The resolution, which would have to pass both the Ohio House and Senate, doesn’t carry much clout. It is a mechanism for sending a message on an issue.


Patient advocates call for equal access to medical marijuana dispensaries

With just 60 proposed medical marijuana dispensaries for Ohio’s 88 counties, prospective patients worry that not all Ohioans will have equal access to the medicine they need.

Patient rights advocacy groups like the Ohio Rights Group and the Ohio Patient Network fear that the current proposal will leave some patients traveling long distances outside of the counties they live in.

“Having access to this medicine is a life and death situation,” said Ohio Rights Group President Emeritus John Pardee. “This is not about getting high.”

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program has until September to submit the final rules.

Paraplegic patients like Richmond Heights veteran Ron Hudson said they worry about traveling long distances.


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