Private labs may be allowed to test marijuana in Ohio

Private labs may be allowed to test marijuana in Ohio
Private labs may be allowed to test marijuana in Ohio

If Ohio’s public colleges and universities don’t want to set up medical marijuana testing labs, the state has a plan to license private labs by early June.

Testing labs are a crucial piece to Ohio’s new medical marijuana program. Labs must analyze the product before it can be sold through licensed dispensaries to the public. The law requires that Ohio first license labs run by public colleges and universities but allows private labs to be licensed after June 5.

Members of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee heard Thursday that universities and colleges are considering applying for lab licenses but whether any of them apply won’t be known until September 11 when the application window opens. Ohio State University will not apply, said Missy Craddock of the Ohio Department of Commerce.

Justin Hunt, chief operating officer for the medical marijuana program, said he can’t name which universities have expressed interest.

CCV Research, a private entity, said it hopes to partner with a public college or university to host a lab but it did not disclose which institution is interested.

Related: Ohio college agrees to run medical marijuana lab, company says

Hunt said on Thursday that it must be a public college or university that applies for a lab license, using its own resources. He cautioned that this first round of lab licensure is not a mechanism for a private company to partner with a public school to beat out other companies.

Ohio’s medical marijuana law took effect 11 months ago. Since then, regulators at the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, State Medical Board and Ohio Department of Commerce have been writing rules, accepting applications, hiring vendors and taking other steps to meet deadlines.

• Two dozen cultivator licenses are expected to be announced in November, possibly earlier. The state is now reviewing the 185 applications received.

• Applications for dispensary and processor licenses will be accepted once cultivator licenses awards are announced.

• A technology vendor will be hired within about two weeks to establish a seed-to-sale system to track plants.

• Public comment on proposed dispensary districts, which proscribe distribution of 60 medical marijuana shops, closes Aug. 11.

Related: State identifies medical marijuana applicants

Craddock said that based on other states’ experiences, Ohio may face lawsuits from businesses that don’t win grower licenses. “We are working very hard to run a fair process as it relates to the selection process here,” she said.

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