Roughly 400 people packed into a meeting room at Ohio State University on Wednesday, hunting for information on just how Ohio’s new medical marijuana industry will unfold.
The newly formed Ohio Cannabis Association organized the three-hour networking and information session at the Ohio Union. It drew in state Sen. Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights — a key legislator behind the new law — as well as investor Jimmy Gould, who backed ResponsibleOhio’s failed legalization ballot issue in 2015, and top executives at two Ohio-based plant oils extraction and edibles companies, and others.
Devon Kehoe, a Cleveland native who ran a medical marijuana delivery service in the Detroit area, said he showed up to find out what business opportunities there will be in Ohio. Tom Garber, also of Cleveland, said he worked as a cultivator in metro Detroit. “I just want to be up to date and get into the industry in Ohio,” Garber said.
The association, which calls itself the “central voice” for business, patients and advocates, predicts that medical marijuana in Ohio will bud into a $1.5- to $2-billion a year industry serving 200,000 patients.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 523 into law June 8. It lays out a framework and time line for regulating the new industry through the state Department of Commerce, Pharmacy Board and Medical Board of Ohio. It lists 19 qualifying conditions for patients to be eligible for medical marijuana. It prohibits home grow and smoking cannabis and allows employers to dismiss workers who violate their workplace drug policies.
But the new law leaves much of the detail work to the regulators: how will cultivation licenses be granted? how many patients will likely qualify? how many doctors are likely to seek certification? how many growing sites and dispensaries will be needed to meet