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Ohio approves 70 more medical marijuana dispensaries

Ohio’s 3-year-old medical marijuana program on Monday more than doubled the number of dispensaries where product may be sold in its first major expansion since its inception.

The Board of Pharmacy approved 70 provisional licenses out of some 1,400 applications received, bringing the total to date to 128. Three more are expected at a later date.

Among northwest Ohio locations slated to host retail businesses licensed to sell a variety of cannabis products from edibles to plant matter are sites in Toledo, Bowling Green, Sandusky, Sherwood, Lima, Tiffin, and Delphos.

In some cases, this would mark the first dispensary to open in some districts after no one initially sought licenses in heavily rural areas in the region. That was not an issue this time around.

The Ohio Lottery Commission conducted a drawing in January on behalf of the pharmacy board to prioritize the applications in each region of the state’s 31 districts, more than half of which will see only one new license despite the submission of numerous applications.

The winners of the drawing, however, still had to prove, among other things, that they have the financial wherewithal to back up their plans and that they meet other licensing, siting, and legal requirements in order to qualify. In cases where the initial winner came up short, the board moved to the next highest-ranked applicant in the drawing.

Ohio lawmakers first moved in 2016 to legalize the cultivation, sale, and use of cannabis for medical use only by registered individuals suffering from specific ailments, but it wasn’t until 2019 that the first product was legally sold in the state.

Since then the program has seen about $800 million in sales and registered 261,453 patients. There are currently 58 licensed dispensaries in the state. The newly approved 70 licensees have 270 days to get up and running.

In northwest Ohio. the board approved provisional licenses for:

— The third dispensary in Lucas County. The new license would go to Statewide Property Holdings Ohio, LLC — doing business as Rivival 1937 based in Birmingham, Mich. — for a dispensary at 3534 Dorr St., Toledo. Existing dispensaries are located at 3157 W. Sylvania Ave., Toledo and 1238 Conant St., Maumee.

— A second Bowling Green site for the region consisting of Wood, Henry, and Hancock counties. Nectar Markets of Ohio, LLC plans a dispensary for 1011 S. Main St., joining an existing dispensary at 1155 N. Main St.

— The first dispensary for the rural region consisting of Fulton, Williams, and Defiance counties. Theory Wellness of Ohio Retail, LLC has proposed a dispensary for 9914 U.S. 127 in Sherwood.

— A second dispensary for the region consisting of Ottawa, Sandusky, and Seneca counties. This one would be for Marimed OH, LLC at 318 Market St., Tiffin. There is already a dispensary at 1800 E. State St., Fremont.

— The first dispensary for the rural district consisting of Paulding, Van Wert, and Mercer counties, Ohio Holistic Health, LLC is looking at 215 W. Fifth St., Delphos for its site.

— A third dispensary in the district that includes Erie, Huron, Richland, and Ashland counties for Ohio Patient Access, LLC at 6019 Milan Road, Sandusky. There are already dispensaries at 1651 Tiffin Ave., Sandusky and at 2300 University Drive, Huron.

— A second dispensary for the district including Putnam, Allen and Auglaize counties. SEO Natural Enterprises, LLC plans a dispensary at 1503 Harding Highway, Lima to join an existing dispensary in Wapakoneta.

All of northwest Ohio’s districts were eligible for just one additional dispensary, while the bulk of additional licenses in the state were targeted to the Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Dayton areas.

All of this occurs as state lawmakers are debating Senate Bill 216 to further expand the program as well as the official ailments recognized for medical marijuana treatment. The bill passed the Senate and is pending in the House.

The bill would require one dispensary for every 1,000 patients up to the first 300,000 and then additional sites as needed.

“We, in consulting with [the Department of] Commerce, developed a 1,200 [person] metric,” board spokesman Cameron McNamee said. “The legislature is looking at 1,000… As of right now, our policy is to go with that 1,200 metric… That being said, we don’t know what’s going to happen in the next couple months with that Senate bill that would consolidate the program with Commerce. We’re at this point kind of waiting and seeing what the legislature’s approach will ultimately be.”

It remains illegal in Ohio to grow marijuana for personal use or to smoke it. All product must be cultivated, processed, tested, and sold by licensed state entities.

A proposed ballot issue that would have asked voters to legalize pot for recreational use, tax it, and expand the existing medical marijuana infrastructure to accommodate market demand has been put off until at least November, 2023.


Posted By: The Toledo Blade on May 16, 2022.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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