The Strawberry Fields medical marijuana dispensary is hoping to open in August, according to its owners. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

State says Monroe medical marijuana dispensary delay not caused by backlog

Ian James, who is in charge of corporate development for CannAscend LLC, said officials are continuing with their hiring and training processes and making sure regulatory requirements are addressed.

Earlier this year, CannAscend officials said they were hoping to open the Monroe dispensary on Main Street/Cincinnati-Dayton Road in June. The organization has state approval for three other dispensaries in Dayton, Logan and Marietta.

MORE: Lebanon medical marijuana dispensary opens, another coming soon

“We’re making sure that all of our systems are in place,” James said. “Our goal is to have state approval in August.”

He said the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, which inspects the medical marijuana dispensaries, has been busy inspecting the new dispensaries across the state.

“We’re at the mercy of their schedule,” James said. “The inspectors are bending over backwards to get these inspections done and there are only so many hours in a day they can do the inspections.”

MORE: Area’s first medical pot dispensary opens, more shops coming soon

James said the organization wants to get everything right for the patients so that they can obtain medical marijuana for their illnesses.

“We’re working diligently to make sure it happens and our goal is to get it done as soon as possible,” he said.

MORE: Region’s first medical marijuana could be dispensed next week in Lebanon

Nine dispensaries have provisional licenses to open in the region, including in Springfield, Beavercreek, Lebanon, Monroe, Riverside and the village of Seven Mile. The dispensary in Lebanon opened in May.

There are 19 authorized medical marijuana dispensaries that have opened, according to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.

The 2016 law authorized 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 are allowed to possess up to a 90-day supply. Smoking or home-growing is barred.

MORE: Monroe’s medical marijuana dispensary under construction, could open in spring

“There is not a backlog of inspectors for dispensaries,” said Ali Simon, public and policy affairs liaison with the state pharmacy board. “Board staff have been ready to inspect when requested, that includes pre-inspections. The board has not had any issues scheduling inspections.”

Simon said that earlier this month the board held a meeting for the licensees that have not received a certificate of operation. She said the three committee members reviewed information from 30 provisional dispensary licensees.

Simon said the dispensaries had to share updates about when they would be able to finish their preparations, and if they could happen by July 7, Aug. 9, or Sept. 8. Most of the reasons for delaying opening were construction, local permitting, and other local issues, she said.

MORE: Area’s first medical pot dispensary opens, more shops coming soon

Monroe is also the site of a Level II cultivation license that was awarded to Hemma LLC, which is building a growing facility at 100 Edison Drive. According to state officials, Level II licenses allow for growing spaces for up to 3,000 square feet.

State commerce department officials said the Hemma LLC facility was awarded a provisional license on Nov. 3, 2017 and received its certificate of operation on Sept. 11, 2018. She said the certificate of operation enabled Hemma LLC to begin cultivating marijuana.

MORE: Region’s first medical marijuana could be dispensed next week in Lebanon

The 2016 law authorized 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 are allowed to possess up to a 90-day supply. Smoking or home growing it is barred.

Many of the dispensaries have been slow to open due to lawsuits, construction delays and other issues.

MORE: Monroe’s medical marijuana dispensary under construction, could open in spring

The Lebanon dispensary opened in late May was the 17th dispensary to open of the 56 authorized to open as of last September.

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