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Two license applications from companies seeking to locate medical marijuana dispensaries in Highland County were among nearly 400 received from across the state for 60 licenses that will eventually be issued. The deadline for applications was last Friday.

Companies calling themselves “Debbie’s Dispensary Ohio 4” and “Ohio Biotherapy LLC” were the only two applications received seeking to locate a dispensary in the district that includes Highland, Brown and Adams counties. No applications were filed seeking to locate dispensaries in Brown or Adams.

In regard to dispensary licenses, Highland County is part of what has been designated District 6 in the Southwest region of the state, grouped with Adams and Brown counties. One dispensary license has been set aside for the three-country district.

In a business filing with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, Ohio Biotherapy LLC provided an address of “108 Governor Trimble Place, Unit No. 102,” which is adjacent to the offices of The Times-Gazette in a space currently leased by a gunsmith. The property is owned by Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings.

Hastings said Wednesday he was approached recently by representatives of a company who were interested in leasing the space, but his understanding was that it ultimately did not qualify for a marijuana dispensary because it was located too close to a church.

State law says medical marijuana dispensaries cannot be located within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground, public park or community addiction services provider.

Hastings said he was told that the company instead found a property along West Main Street beyond the uptown district.

“I’m surprised they have the Trimble Place location listed on their business filing,” said Hastings. “In fact, though, I was approached about a number of locations I own, but none of them were suitable” for

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A committee will look at issues regarding the testing of cannabis products amid inconsistency in potency results from different labs, Alaska’s top marijuana regulator said.

Erika McConnell, director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, told Anchorage television station KTVA she didn’t know how long that process would take.

McConnell, at a recent Marijuana Control Board meeting, recommended a review of testing regulations, citing, among other reasons, evidence of “significant deviation” in potency-testing results of the same product by different labs.

Brian Coyle, CEO of Steep Hill Alaska, one of two testing labs in the state, said THC results from customers who got samples tested at both labs were higher in all 16 samples tested by the other lab, Canntest LLC — in some cases, significantly so.

THC is what gets consumers high.

“High THC is what the customers are seeking. The retailers want it, the cultivators want it, so they can sell their product for a premium, and that’s what brought us to this situation,” Coyle said.

Steep Hill also retested products it bought from retail stores and said it found variations.

The inconsistencies are greater than one would expect between two different labs, Coyle said.

Jonathan Rupp, Canntest’s scientific director, said he has questions about how Steep Hill conducted its tests but also wants to figure out why the results are so different. His lab would never inflate THC results for financial gain, he said.

Canntest, in a statement it posted online, cited a number of potential factors that might contribute to the reported discrepancies but said that “without direct cooperation between labs any differences are difficult to determine.”

Steep Hill has suggested, among other things, using equipment at the state crime lab as a third-party check of test results coming from licensed marijuana testing labs.

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The Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced Monday that they have received 370 applications to operate 60 medical cannabis dispensaries across the state.

Seventeen of the applications were from Hamilton County. Names of some of the county applicants’ businesses include Curaleaf Ohio INC, Medical Marijuana 513 LLC, Nature’s Apex LLC, Ohio Releaf III LLC and Black Diamond Investments LLC.

Nature’s Apex represents Rhinegeist Brewery’s attempt to install a medical marijuana farm and cultivation site in Camp Washington. The site would also include a beer warehouse, a brewery and a dog park.

Students at the University of Cincinnati are curious to see how the medical marijuana landscape develops, and could possibly question buying cannabis illegally from campus dealers.

“It all depends. I’m a smart consumer and for me the only thing that matters is price,” a third-year arts and sciences student that smokes cannabis every day said. “Whatever option is the cheapest while not compromising the quality is the one I’ll go with.”

The application fee for parties interested in a dispensary was $5,000.

According to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, certified physicians may recommend medical marijuana only for the treatment of a qualifying medical condition. All medical marijuana patients and their caregivers are required to register with the State Board of Pharmacy.

Some of these conditions include cancer, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, hepatitis C and multiple sclerosis.

“I would much rather buy medical marijuana if I could,” a first-year student that labels herself as a regular smoker said. “Consciously, I feel better knowing my money is going to companies that would pay heavy state taxes benefitting schools, pension programs, public works — rather than encouraging a harmful cycle in local communities.

Earlier this month, state officials granted licenses to cultivators to grow medical marijuana.

The only location in

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Grand juries, which meet in secret, review criminal charges brought by police and prosecutors and investigate possible criminal behavior. The proceedings are usually one-sided, because the accused is not present and witnesses are not cross-examined.

PHOTOS: Look who’s been booked in the Butler County Jail

A grand jury may issue an indictment if it finds probable cause that a crime was committed and the accused person is responsible. An indictment is an accusation that must then be proven in court. The grand jury may also elect to issue no indictment.

BUTLER COUNTY 

Indictments returned during a recent session of the Butler County grand jury:

Lester Burns, 910 Neal Blvd., Hamilton; indicted on four counts of robbery (direct).

Brian James Lyons, 1800 Edison Ave., Hamilton; indicted on three counts of robbery (direct).

Steven M. Lyons, 1800 Edison Ave., Hamilton; indicted on two counts of robbery (direct).

Nicolas Cristescu, 209d Pines Lodge, Oxford; indicted on 11 counts of voyeurism (direct), and one count each of rape (direct) and sexual battery (direct).

MORE: Night of drinking leads to assault, OVI charges for Middletown man

Michael Rockhold, 502 East Ave., Hamilton; indicted on one count each of possession of cocaine and obstructing official business.

Lasey Jo Abner, 625 Auburn Ave., Middletown; indicted on one count of aggravated possession of drugs.

Edward Fore, 5594 Ponderosa Drive, Fairfield; indicted on two counts of possession of cocaine, and one count of aggravated possession of drugs.

Darla Brookbank, 2127 Elmo Ave., Hamilton; indicted on one count each of aggravated trafficking in drugs (direct), aggravated possession of drugs (direct), and aggravated possession of drugs.

Amanda M. Smith, 231 North C St.,

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Elyria proved to be a popular locale for applicants looking to set up dispensaries.

Before the state deadline, Assistant Safety Service Director Kevin Brubaker said he fielded more than 40 calls from real estate agents and proprietors interested in finding more information about certain properties in Elyria that could house medical marijuana dispensaries.

The inquiries were related to zoning as Elyria has established new laws to reflect which zoning districts the city is opening up for medical marijuana businesses including the cultivation, processing and distribution of the drugs.

The state’s applicant list released Monday included 11 applications for 14 addresses in Elyria.

“I mostly dealt with real estate agents and some proprietors, but many told me Elyria was a high priority city,” he said. “We came right out the gate welcoming the industry to the city and never put a moratorium of any kind in place. I think that played into people looking at us.”

While the state is not releasing additional information about the applicants, including where each is looking to set up shop, Elyria responded to a public records request with the Elyria locations included with each respective application.

Angel Dawson of Natural Remedies said she is excited about potentially opening a dispensary in Elyria, where she aims to be more than just a drug store. She also would like to offer health seminars and educational classes led by a medical professional to help eliminate the stigma associated with medical marijuana.

She also sees her business as the kind that would be community minded with a lean toward helping youth groups and law enforcement.

“Being in the medical field and knowing we have this big heroin epidemic in Ohio, I came to the conclusion I wanted to get involved

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2015 photo taken at a medical marijuana dispensary in Sacramento, Ca.(Photo: AP file photo)

MANSFIELD — Mansfield residents voiced their disapproval Tuesday night after Mansfield City Council approved banning medical marijuana dispensaries in the city earlier this month.

Council members on Nov. 7 approved 6-1 banning the cultivation, processing and distribution of medical marijuana within city limits.

Ohio legalized medical marijuana in September 2016 to allow people with some medical conditions to obtain an identification card and use the drug with the recommendation of an Ohio-licensed physician.

Medical marijuana users with identification cards who live in Mansfield will still be allowed to use the drug. They just won’t be able to buy it in the city.

More: Sale of medical marijuana banned in Mansfield

Mansfield resident Amanda Spear, wearing a green ribbon on her chest, said Tuesday she did not understand how the majority-Democratic council approved the ban.

“This decision flies in the face of both big-D and little-D democratic ideals,” she said. 
“Big D, this city council is more than a majority Democrat, and I’m really disappointed in their decision. From them, at least, I expect better. I expect the Democrats in this city to hold tight to the party’s ideals and express it.”

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Mansfield resident Amanda Spear speaks before Mansfield City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017. Spear said she did not understand how the majority-Democratic council approved a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in Mansfield. (Photo: Emily Mills/News Journal)

According to the Democratic Party’s current platform, “We support policies that will allow more research on marijuana, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to exist without uncertainty.”

Third-ward councilman Jon Van Harlingen, fourth-ward councilman Butch Jefferson, fifth-ward councilman Jason Lawrence, sixth-ward councilwoman Garnetta Pender and councilman-at-large Don Bryant are all Democrats, while first-ward

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Ohio police departments are learning how to interpret the law and medical marijuana in the new year.

So they are turning to experts from Colorado for direction on arrests, cases and how to handle the drug in the field.

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Blue Ash Police Chief Paul Hartinger said medical marijuana presents a new era for law enforcement and that’s why he wants to make sure his officers are ready.

“I think it’s imperative to keep my officers up to speed, every day, every month, every week, whatever it is,” Hartinger said.

Hartinger is big on training and now his focus is shifting to medical marijuana.

“What are the things that I need to know on the streets so that I do my job well and do it right but still enforce the laws that are on the books?” Hartinger said.

In order to get a better idea, he brought in a former prosecutor from Colorado last week to read Ohio’s law and help his officers navigate a budding industry in 2018.

“If I look in the car and I see something that just absolutely looks illegal, for instance, the paraphernalia, may not be illegal next year,” he said.

He’s been reading through more than 80 pages trying to understand the law.

He expects 2018 will be interesting in the world of medical marijuana.

His big concerns are understanding medical marijuana cards, determining who has permission to carry marijuana in different forms and how to handle potential OVIs and violations in court.

He wants to make sure the drug is available for legal users, but admits the unknown could hamper arrests for abusers.

“There’s going to be some hesitance because if somebody does produce a card or looks like it’s a valid card, some officers

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San Francisco’s public transit board has voted to ban marijuana advertising on its buses, trains and shelters, reversing its current policy.

The San Francisco Examiner reports the board of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency voted Tuesday to prohibit pot advertising in advance of Jan. 1, when recreational weed becomes legal in California.

There are currently 130 ads for medicinal marijuana on transit agency property from companies such as Eaze, Urban Pharm and Green Cross.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was among those urging a ban on weed advertising, saying such a rule would limit children’s exposure to products meant for adults.

The agency says it will run marijuana ads that have already been purchased.

The agency, known as MUNI, also bans advertising for alcohol and tobacco products.

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A Florida nursery and a man who suffers from epilepsy filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Gov. Rick Scott’s administration that contends that state officials are flouting the state’s new medical marijuana law.

It’s the latest legal challenge against the way Florida officials and state legislators have acted since voters approved medical marijuana a year ago.

Bill’s Nursery, located in Miami-Dade County, and Michael Bowen want a judge to order the Department of Health to hand out new licenses for treatment centers that were promised in a law passed by the Legislature this past summer. Treatment centers are the only businesses allowed to grow, process and sell medical marijuana.

The state was supposed to hand out a total of 10 new licenses by October, but so far has only approved six. Officials have blamed the delay on a separate lawsuit challenging another provision of the new law.

Bowen said the department is blocking patients from getting access to medical marijuana.

“In cases like mine, medical marijuana is literally the only thing that can control my seizures and keep me alive,” Bowen said in a statement. “But the Florida Department of Health’s inexcusable foot-dragging is keeping patients like me from getting safe, reliable access to these lifesaving treatments.”

Mara Gambineri, a spokeswoman for the department, said that the state is working “diligently” to implement the new law.

“We remain committed to moving this process forward, and will do so in an expedient and thoughtful manner,” Gambineri said in an email.

Patients who suffered from epilepsy, chronic muscle spasms, cancer and terminal conditions were allowed under laws Scott signed in 2014 and 2016 to receive either low-THC cannabis or full strength medical marijuana. The amendment passed by voters last year added people with HIV and AIDS, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, ALS, Crohn’s disease,

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A cannabis cultivation expert who was prosecuted in South Dakota after working with a Native American tribe trying to open the nation’s first marijuana resort will see his drug case dismissed.

A sentence handed down Tuesday for Jonathan Hunt caps the state’s prosecution of two consultants who worked with the Flandreau Santee Sioux on an ambitious venture that the tribe once dubbed an “adult playground” that could bring in $2 million a month.

The plan for a resort north of Sioux Falls was ultimately abandoned after fears of a federal raid culminated with the tribe burning its marijuana crop in 2015.

A state judge agreed to Hunt’s request for a suspended imposition of sentence, allowing the case to be dismissed and the record to be sealed after he met the conditions of paying a $500 fine and about $100 in court costs, according to Hunt’s attorney, Clint Sargent.

“I feel free,” Hunt told The Associated Press. “I think the whole thing never should have happened.”

Hunt, 44, and Eric Hagen worked for Colorado-based Monarch America, a marijuana consulting company, when they were charged last year after assisting the tribe. The two consultants faced charges for their roles in the cannabis-growing operation.

Hagen, the president and CEO of Monarch America, fought his charges at trial and a jury cleared him of several felony drug counts.

Hunt pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy to possess marijuana after agreeing to cooperate with authorities. He had overseen the Santee Sioux’s marijuana crop before it was burned. Hunt, who no longer works with Monarch America, said he now plans to work in the medical and recreational cannabis industry in California.

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley confirmed that Hunt had been sentenced, saying he was held accountable for his role in the Flandreau marijuana case.

“A

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