Ohio lawmakers have legalized medical marijuana so when can you expect to see it? Jessie Balmert
Marijuana plants(Photo: The Enquirer/Amanda Rossmann)
COLUMBUS – Medical marijuana proponents worry that initially restricting laboratory testing to public universities could stall Ohio’s fledgling program.
Ohio’s new law on medical marijuana prohibits private laboratories from testing medical marijuana’s properties for one year. During that time, public universities would test medical marijuana produced within the state to ensure its safety for consumers.
The problem? No other state tests medical marijuana like this. That’s because many university officials are wary of losing money from a federal government that still labels marijuana as among the most dangerous, illegal drugs – at the same level as heroin and ecstasy.
“If there is no testing, then there is no program,” said Rob Ryan, executive director of the Ohio Patient Network and a Blue Ash councilman. “We are very concerned.”
Even if Ohio’s universities want to test medical marijuana, there is a cost: a $2,000 application fee and $18,000 fee to operate a testing lab. Those fees could change before the rules are finalized by Sept. 8.
Purchasing testing equipment, cameras and other tools would cost at least $1 million, depending on what the university already had in place, said Jeffrey Raber, CEO of The Werc Shop, which tests marijuana in California, Oregon and Washington. And to buy equipment or finance labwork, professors often rely on grants – many of which come from government entities.
Other concerns include whether universities would have the capacity to handle all medical marijuana grown in Ohio or whether they can safely secure the drug to prevent theft.
“There are too