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Patients won’t be able to get medical marijuana in Ohio by Sept. 8 deadline

Ohio regulators said Tuesday that medical marijuana will not be available to patients by the September 8 deadline set in state law.

“It doesn’t look like any of the cultivators will be ready to have produce on the shelves by September,” said Mark Hamlin, senior policy advisor to the medical marijuana program at the Ohio Department of Commerce.

The Ohio Department of Commerce officials said none of the 25 licensed cultivators have received their certificates of operation needed before they can begin planting marijuana. Just one Level 1 cultivator, Pure Ohio Wellness in the Springfield area, has received the required state inspection.

“We know that patients in Ohio circled that date on their calendars and we don’t take that lightly,” Hamlin said.

Growers, who received provisional licenses in November, have been delayed by weather, construction and other business issues, Hamlin said. Three Level 2 cultivators will be inspected this month and five Level 1 and one Level 2 growers are slated to be inspected in July, he said.

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State officials announced Monday afternoon where dozens of medical marijuana dispensaries will be located across Ohio. The Board of Pharmacy is expected to name up to 56 dispensary licensees in 28 geographic districts.

State officials had said they needed to issue certificates of operation by now to some growers in order to have product on dispensary shelves by September 8.

In June 2016, Kasich signed a bill into law that authorizes medical marijuana use by patients with 21 conditions, including cancer or chronic pain, in the form of edibles, oils, patches and vaporizing. Patients and their caregivers will be allowed to possess up to a 90 day supply. Smoking or home growing it is barred.

Regulators have been working for more than a year to issue rules, review applications and announce licenses for cultivators, labs, dispensaries and processors.

“We always knew the timeline was tight and aggressive,” he said.

Related: Regulators scale back expectations in medical marijuana program

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy on Monday announced 56 dispensary licenses across the state to sell medical marijuana to registered patients who have recommendations from their physicians. Cities where sites were chosen include Dayton, Riverside, Beavercreek, Lebanon, Springfield, Monroe and Seven Mile.

In June 2016, Kasich signed a bill into law that authorizes medical marijuana use by patients with 21 conditions, including cancer or chronic pain, in the form of edibles, oils, patches and vaporizing. Patients and their caregivers will be allowed to possess up to a 90 day supply. Smoking or home growing it is barred.

Regulators have been working for more than a year to issue rules, review applications and announce licenses for cultivators, labs, dispensaries and processors.

“We always knew the timeline was tight and aggressive,” he said.

Related: Controversy, legal challenges mar Ohio’s medical pot launch

The program is overseen by three state agencies: Commerce, Pharmacy and the State Medical Board. Regulators are under intense scrutiny from media outlets, patient advocates, politicians and businesses seeking to crack into the new multi-billion dollar industry. The Department of Commerce ran into a buzzsaw of criticism over consultants it hired to review cultivator applications and scoring errors discovered after licenses were announced in November.

Hamlin said state regulators have been ready to begin inspecting cultivators since March but those businesses ran into delays, which put off the state inspections.

He added: “We are not going to cut corners and rush our inspections in any way that will risk the health and safety of Ohioans.”

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