Proposed Rule Changes Submitted for Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program

Since its launch in January, Ohio’s medical marijuana program is off to a strong start. With more than $1.5 million in product sales as of early March, exponential growth is expected as more marijuana-based businesses open their doors in the coming months.

Amid such promising growth, the Ohio Department of Commerce Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) has submitted a set of proposed rules changes to the Common Sense Initiative (CSI). Led by Lt. Governor Jon Husted, CSI reviews proposed actions by state boards and provides guidance on whether regulations pose potential obstacles to Ohio’s businesses.

The proposed changes include four amendments to the current rules plus one new rule, and seek to:

  • Clarify that cultivation facilities are not eligible for agricultural exemption from Ohio’s building code;
  • Remove an option that could have required the Department to take possession of and destroy medical marijuana waste material created by cultivators, processors, and testing labs;
  • Streamline the process of licensing employees of medical marijuana facilities by removing unnecessary requirements from materials they must submit, which include social security cards, proof of residence, and duplicative submissions related to criminal background checks;
  • Delete duplicative language related to confidential information and public records of licensees; and
  • (NEW) Provide the Director of the MMCP flexibility to grant variances in instances where the variance is in the public interest and not inconsistent with the statute.

The proposed rule changes seek to resolve potentially burdensome requirements to businesses, as well as provide flexibility to the rigid statutory schemes in place. As Ohio’s medical marijuana program continues to grow and evolve, businesses should keep a close eye out for additional changes to existing regulations as the MMCP looks to address newly identified concerns.

Interested Parties may provide input on these proposed changes at MMCP@com.state.oh.us and CSIPublicComments@governor.ohio.gov. The deadline to submit is 5:00 p.m. March 22, 2019.

* Tanner Lawrence contributed to this post.