Ohio Department of Commerce

A photo of the Senate chamber on the first day of session, January 2017.
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Here are your morning headlines for Thursday, May 17:

Ohio's medical marijuana program was signed into law almost two years ago.
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Officials with Ohio’s medical marijuana program say it won’t be fully in operation by September 8, two years from the date the law creating the program was signed. 

Provisional licenses for processing labs, testing labs and dispensaries will be awarded in May and June. And since growers just got licenses in November, Stephanie Gostomski with the Ohio Department of Commerce says the program won’t be in full force right away.

Photo of medical marijuana
BROOKINGS

Some of the companies that lost out on medical marijuana growing licenses are suing the state over the way those decisions were made and those companies are hoping courts will force the state to answer questions.  

 

Jimmy Gould of CannAscend, one of the companies bringing forward the latest lawsuit, says the state didn’t follow its own rules.

“This is the most screwed up thing I’ve ever seen.”

A photo of Sen. Bill Coley, Republican, Sponsor of the legislation.
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio lawmakers are now weighing in with a proposed fix for problems with the process being used by the state Commerce Department in the medical marijuana program. 

Republican Sen. Bill Coley says his legislation gives Ohio’s auditor 30 days to do a full performance audit of growers’ license applications, then gives the department another month to correct problems.

“By doing this, we can remove any clouds of suspicion or impropriety or any suggestions or innuendo of impropriety.”

AUDITOR DAVID YOST
JO INGLES / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Ohio’s Auditor says it’s probably too late for the state Department of Commerce to pause its medical marijuana processes to fix problems. He’s telling the department to focus now instead on defending lawsuits.

Back in December, just days after it was discovered that the state hired a man with a felony drug conviction to score medical marijuana applications, Auditor Dave Yost called for the process to stop.

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