Lawmakers OK initial funding for Ohio’s new medical marijuana regulatory efforts

By Marc Kovac


State lawmakers signed off Monday on initial funding for Ohio’s new medical marijuana regulatory efforts.

The Controlling Board, without comment, approved $1.8 million requested through several state agencies, via a new medical-marijuana control- program fund that will allow the Department of Commerce and Pharmacy Board to operate the program.

Under legislation passed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. John Kasich earlier this year and set to take effect in a couple of weeks, the Ohio Department of Commerce will head the licensing of medical-marijuana cultivators, processors and testing labs, while the Pharmacy Board will license dispensaries and the registration of patients and caregivers, according to documents.

The latter also will operate a new advisory committee, which will offer recommendations for the regulation of medical marijuana in the state.

The Controlling Board items Monday included more than $923,000 for the commerce department for “staffing (to initiate and enforce program rules and regulations), training, research and establishment of the required database.”

The Pharmacy Board was approved for $882,400 for new staff and related systems. Its hires will include an attorney to coordinate the program, “drafting all rules and regulations, answering legal questions from agency staff, preparing administrative hearings and coordinating the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee.”

In a separate item Monday, lawmakers approved nearly $701,000 for the Pharmacy Board’s efforts to combat opioid addiction.

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