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Update on Ohio’s medical marijuana program

Marijuana remains classified as an illegal controlled substance under federal law, yet medical marijuana technically became legal in Ohio on September 8, 2016.

Meanwhile, the rules and regulations are being systematically rolled out and finalized by state agencies that are required by law to take all actions necessary to ensure the program is operational no later than September 2018.

At that time, there will be an established structure for Ohioans with a qualifying medical condition to obtain a recommendation for medical marijuana, purchase it from a licensed dispensary, and consume it.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) did not take a formal position on the state’s medical marijuana legislation. Instead, our members sought to enhance employer rights, and the GCP worked to secure protections included in the legislation that is now law.

For example, those protections include that state employers can still establish and enforce drug testing, a drug-free workplace, and zero-tolerance drug policies.

In addition, Governor Kasich appointed a GCP/COSE board member to serve in an employer role on the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee; the role represents employers’ views and interests as public input and proceedings continue.

So, what’s on the horizon?

The Advisory Committee will meet again on June 8 to continue the rules process that will eventually govern growers, dispensaries, patients, caregivers, physicians, processors, and testing labs.

Applications for small-scale cultivator licenses will be accepted by the state from June 5 to June 16, and applications for large-scale licenses will be accepted from June 19 to June 30.

Updates on Ohio’s legalization process are available at

How should your company prepare for medical marijuana in Ohio? Read more here.