Ohio Marijuana News

One of three Ohio men charged with moving a large amount of marijuana through Fayette County has pleaded guilty, the state’s attorney’s office reported.

Juan Campos-Tavares, age 30, of Hamilton, Ohio, pleaded guilty to the offense of unlawful possession of cannabis of more than 5,000 grams and received a six year sentence. He was originally charged with marijuana trafficking and delivery of marijuana more than 5,000 grams, which were dropped as part of the plea deal.

His co-defendants, Heshimu Jones, 22, Middleton, Ohio and Cordell Shelton, 18, Pleasant Plain, Ohio, are both charged with the trafficking and delivery charges. Jones remains in custody and is due for a pretrial conference at 11 a.m. May 17, with a trial set on May 22. Shelton posted $10,000 and was released, and is due in court at 1 a.m. June 6.

The three were arrested on Nov. 2, 2016 by a Fayette County deputy.

Graham Milldrum, Daily News

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Ohio has built it, but will they come?

Prospective medical marijuana cultivators now know what Ohio rules for getting growers’ licenses looks like. They were finalized last Monday and application forms were released Friday.

Ohio’s medical marijuana law allows people with 21 medical conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy, to purchase and use marijuana after getting a doctor’s recommendation. The law doesn’t allow smoking.

The issue to watch is whether certain regulations will curb the program’s ability to get an adequate supply of medical cannabis to patients. Regulators say the rules balance access with public safety and can be revisited later.

“The most genuine answer that anyone can give about Ohio’s program is that this has never been done before, so we don’t know if it will work, or serve patients,” said Dr. Jahan Marcu, chief science officer at Americans for Safe Access. “So patients will just have to wait and see.”

A look at several key issues that have arisen on the cultivation front:

LICENSE LIMITATIONS

Ohio has set some of the highest licensing fees in the country. Larger growers must pay a $20,000 application fee and a $180,000 license fee. Smaller grow operations must pay $2,000 to apply and an $18,000 license fee. Annual renewal fees are equally hefty.

Up to 24 licenses — 12 for large growers, 12 for small growers — will be made available, with some growers and patient advocates raising concerns that the total 336,000 square feet available won’t be enough to produce an adequate crop. Estimates of the Ohio patient population vary widely, from 185,000 to 325,000 people.

Missy Craddock, of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, recently told a state advisory board the high financial bar will assure participating growers think seriously about the financial commitment before entering the field.

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Communities across Northeast Ohio are debating whether to welcome medical marijuana businesses and how to regulate them locally, but the ones who haven’t made up their minds at this point are much more likely to miss out, particularly in terms of the more lucrative operations.

That’s because those seeking licenses from the state for different activities, cultivators in particular — only 24 grow sites will be permitted initially, though the state will have an option to increase that number in September 2018, when the medical marijuana program is required to be up and running — have been actively looking at potential cities and sites to call home for quite some time.

Even if a city intends to open up to marijuana businesses in the future, those that don’t seem very hospitable right now generally aren’t being as targeted by entrepreneurs and investors.

“People aren’t going to spend the time and resources to identify a piece of property, engage with the owner for a lease option contract or purchase a contract if they don’t know the municipality is going to allow for this type of business in the community,” said Thomas Haren, an attorney at Seeley, Savidge, Ebert & Gourash who’s working with aspiring marijuana businesspeople. “Community support is going to be one of the most important parts of the application. And if a community isn’t indicating it’s supportive of the industry, they’re basically foreclosing on any investment.”

Several cities are taking “wait-and-see” approaches, keeping temporary bans in place until they do more research or the industry begins to mature in Ohio. Local governments doing that typically cite leeriness of what the industry could mean to their cities — some worry of increases in crime — or haven’t settled on their own local rules. Some just don’t like the idea of

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The third annual New England Cannabis Convention is being held this weekend in Boston.

The event Saturday and Sunday at the Hynes Convention Center brings together businesses, entrepreneurs, investors, educators, patients, advocates and consumers in one place to connect and learn about the state’s burgeoning medical and recreational marijuana industry.

The convention is bringing together more than 100 national experts, including medical and legal experts as well as growers and sellers.

Attendees will be able to hear from a series of speakers and browse nearly 200 exhibitors.

The use, distribution or sale of marijuana products is not allowed at the convention.

Similar events in other New England cities are planned for later in the year.

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The Trump administration recently warned about the potential for marijuana to lead to other drug use, but candidates for New Jersey governor are considering embracing efforts to authorize recreational use in the state.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly’s recent comment that marijuana is a possibly dangerous gateway drug comes after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he is “definitely not a fan” of expanded use.

Nonetheless, New Jersey’s Democratic-controlled Legislature plans to move forward with legislation and lawmakers hope Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s successor will sign it.

Christie, who is term-limited, has opposed any expansion of marijuana legalization. His term ends in January.

Industry watchers say they’re optimistic legalization will move forward, even if they are unsure about the pace.

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THE ISSUE

Legalization of recreational marijuana has had a double-life in New Jersey. The issue is currently stalled mostly because Christie has vowed to veto any effort to legalize recreational use of the drug. But lawmakers in the Democrat-led Legislature have continued to explore the issue, taking trips to Colorado to examine successes and failures and promising to introduce legislation they hope Christie’s successor will sign. Supporters see legalization as a potential new revenue stream for the state and a way to keep petty drug offenders out of the justice system. Opponents, like Christie and Kelly, see the drug as a gateway to graver addictions and more serious crimes. Still others are skeptical about full-scale recreational legalization but favors decriminalizing marijuana to keep offenders out of jail.

New Jersey currently has a medical marijuana program, enacted shortly before Christie took office in 2010. Proponents of the program say Christie could be doing more to expand the program under the law, like opening more dispensaries.

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CANDIDATE POSITIONS AND PROMISES

Democratic front-runner Phil Murphy has said he supports legalization. Former Clinton

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Iowa lawmakers have passed a bill that would create a system for manufacturing and distributing low-THC medical marijuana oil in the state.

The Republican-controlled chambers approved the legislation on Saturday. The oil would be available only through licensed manufacturers and sellers and could be prescribed to treat several conditions, including cancer and multiple sclerosis. Epilepsy patients can already get a prescription for the oil.

The measure would limit the amount of THC in the oil to an amount that wouldn’t produce a high.

Lawmakers met privately for hours Friday and early Saturday to negotiate the bill, which now heads to Gov. Terry Branstad, who has not said if he’d sign it. The Senate initially backed broader provisions, but did not have enough traction in the House.

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April 22, 2017Share this content:
Cannabidiol appears to reduce seizures for some patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

(HealthDay News) — Cannabidiol may reduce seizures in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 22 to 28 in Boston.

Anup Patel, MD, of Nationwide Children’s Hospital and The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, and colleagues tested cannabidiol in 225 young patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The patients had an average age of 16 years. Each month, the study participants had an average of 85 drop seizures. The patients were taking an average of 3 epilepsy drugs at the time of the study. For 14 weeks, the participants also received either a higher or lower dose of daily cannabidiol, or an inactive placebo, in addition to their current medications.

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The patients who took the higher dose had a 42% reduction in drop seizures overall, and for 40% of this group, their seizures were reduced by half or more. The patients who took the lower dose had a 37% reduction in drop seizures overall, and for 36%, seizures were reduced by half or more. Those in the placebo group had a 17% reduction in drop seizures overall, and for 15%, seizures were reduced by half or more. Side effects were reported by 94% of those in the higher-dose group, 84% of those taking the lower dose, and 72% of those taking the placebo. Most side effects were mild to moderate, and the two most common were decreased appetite and sleepiness.

Compared to those in the placebo group, patients who took cannabidiol were up to 2.6 times more likely to say their overall condition had improved, according to the study. “Our results

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Entrepreneurs seeking to grow medical marijuana in Ohio can now start completing the lengthy, in-depth application to obtain one of 24 licenses available statewide.

The Ohio Department of Commerce on Friday released the application and instructions for cultivators and will begin accepting applications in June. The department plans to issue up to 12 level I licenses for up to 25,000 square feet of growing space and 12 level II licenses for up to 3,000 square feet of space.

Applicants are asked to drop off a paper and electronic copy of their applications with the application fee in person at the department’s Columbus office. The nonrefundable application fee — $20,000 for level I applications and $2,000 for level II applications — must be paid with a money order or certified check.

If awarded a license, level I cultivators would have to pay a $200,000 annual fee — one of the highest of the 29 states with medical marijuana programs. Level II cultivators would pay $20,000 a year.

Department officials plan to go over the application in a webinar posted online May 1. Applicants will have two week-long periods to ask questions and get clarification about the application process before the submission window opens.

Applications for level II licenses will be accepted June 5-16, and applications for level I licenses will be accepted June 19-30. The application doesn’t indicate when licenses will be awarded. But the department faces a December deadline to do so because growers have nine months to meet the requirements of the license and state law requires the program be operational by September 2018.

Applications will be reviewed in two rounds. First, applicants will be screened to see whether they meet requirements for available capital and have secured local zoning approval for the proposed grow site.

Applicants who

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Medical marijuana will be allowed in Blue Ash after a City Council motion to ban it fails.(Photo: File photo)

BLUE ASH – After a heated discussion among Blue Ash City Council members, medical marijuana will be allowed in Blue Ash, for now.

Mayor Lee Czerwonka introduced a motion to ban medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivators and processors within the city of Blue Ash. The state legislation for medical marijuana allows local governments to regulate where the dispensaries can be through zoning laws or to ban it outright.

“I just don’t want to see this city become a bull’s-eye for other people to come here and buy their medical marijuana. It also ruins all of our strip malls and devalues them in the end,” Czerwonka said.

His motion failed by a vote of 3-4. Czerwonka, Councilman Robert Buckman and Councilman Marc Sirkin voted for it. Vice Mayor Tom Adamec, Councilman Pramod Jhaveri, Councilwoman Stephanie Stoller and Councilman Rob Ryan voted against it.

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A motion by Blue Ash Mayor Lee Czerwonka, center, to ban medical marijuana failed by a vote of 3-4. (Photo: The Community Press/ Marika Lee)

“It looks like there are no places around us at all. This is medical marijuana; this is not just marijuana for the public. I don’t know how else people are going to get it if they really need it for the illness they have if somebody does have it,” Stoller said.

The legislation for medical marijuana goes into effect in September. Sirkin said his problem is with how the legislation is worded, but it not fully against having a dispensary in the city.

“We can always see how the program runs for a year or so and then revisit this if the program is working well. I

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