April 23: commerce officials will request more funding from the state Controlling Board;
May: the first labs at public colleges will be licensed; up to 57 dispensaries will be licensed; and state inspections will begin at cultivator sites.
June: a toll-free hotline will go live; patient registry will open; private labs will be licensed;
June or early summer: processors will be licensed;
Mid-August: labs need to be operational.
“I’m quite frankly concerned about the timeline. This is not something we build on an assembly line, it’s a plant,” said Tony Coder, a member of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee on Thursday.
Related: Ohioans may soon know if their doctor signed up to recommend medical pot
Another committee member asked if Ohio could obtain medical marijuana from another state in case Ohio can’t meet the September 8 deadline. Federal law still considers marijuana an illegal controlled substance.
Mark Hamlin, senior policy advisor to the program, said “There is no doubt that it’s a tight time frame and there’s not doubt there are factors out of our control. We are, and I say this across the three entities part of this program, we are confident in the Sept. 8 deadline.”
Related: Controversy, legal threats mar Ohio’s medical pot launch
The program is facing three lawsuits and appeals from some 70 applicants who did not win any of the 24 cultivator licenses announced late last year.
Another complication: commerce officials discovered an error in the scoring process that inappropriately bumped an applicant out of the winner’s list. The department is expected to hire an outside auditor to double check scores and suggest improvements to the process – something that will be done before processor licenses are announced.
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.