By Julie Carr Smyth The Associated Press
Aspiring medical marijuana growers can begin applying for Ohio licenses in June, the Ohio Department of Commerce told a state advisory panel Friday.
The department is overseeing selection of 24 qualified cultivators to start, one of numerous steps involved in launching a medical marijuana program set in motion by a new state law enacted in June 2016.
The 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.
Officials from three state offices charged with developing the program are still finalizing rules for cultivators, processors, testing labs, dispensaries, patients, caregivers and doctors.
At a meeting of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee on Friday, the Commerce Department said it plans to release cultivator application forms to the public within the next two to three weeks, giving interested growers 45 to 60 days to meet submission deadlines.
It also plans a webinar for interested applicants before applications are due. Review of the submissions would begin in July.
It’s still finalizing the details, but the state said it will establish two separate application periods for large and small grow operations: early to mid-June for smaller Level II sites of up to 3,000 square feet and mid- to late June for larger Level I sites of up to 25,000 square feet.
Officials said that will allow staff to assess the number of applications in each group so they can prioritize their review. Rules call for allowing 12 cultivators of each level.
Larger growers must pay a $20,000 application fee and $180,000 if they are granted a license. Smaller grow operations must pay $2,000 to apply and an $18,000 license fee. Those are some of the steepest financial