Ohio faces more hurdles in marijuana program


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – More stumbling blocks have developed in the states attempt to provide legalized medical marijuana and some cannabis products. 

People who use Cannabidiol (CBD) extract oil to treat various ailments will have a hard time finding them in Ohio for a while.

The state Pharmacy Board issued a ruling Thursday saying CBD products have to be regulated like medical marijuana.

CBD oils and creams are derived from the marijuana plant but without THC. They were available over the counter at many stores.

“From our perspective, all marijuana products, including CBD oil can only be dispensed in a licensed medical marijuana controlled dispensary,” said Ali Simon, spokesperson for the Ohio Pharmacy Board. 

People use the oils to treat everything from anxiety to inflammation to arthritis pain. Shop owners say confusion will settle down eventually.

“The gut feeling is that this will get ironed out. There are other states that have gone through this same exact thing, and the laws are being changed and I believe everyone is going to have access to this,” said Rob Berry, with Berry’s Natural Food Market.

Berry stocks some Hemp products at his natural food market. He said the state hasn’t said those products have to be taken off the market.

In other action on the state’s marijuana program, a recent state audit found that the Ohio Department of Commerce exceeded its authority when it awarded two additional licenses to cultivators wishing to grow marijuana for the state’s medical marijuana program.

The Ohio Administrative Code limited the Department to issuing up to 12 large-scale (Level I) and small-scale (Level II) provisional cultivator licenses prior to Sept. 8, 2018. Despite these limitations, the Department created an additional 13th provisional license for both levels in an attempt to correct errors it made during its process.

Ohio Auditor David Yost said that was the most significant of the dozens of errors and inconsistencies auditors found in their review of the process used by the Commerce Department to evaluate, score and award provisional licenses.

 “The Department didn’t do a very good job launching this program,” Auditor Yost said. “It did not exercise due diligence to make sure Ohioans could have complete confidence in the process. The Department’s work was sloppy. Ohioans deserved better.”

 Auditors found weaknesses throughout the process, including in the way the Department protected passwords, system folders and summary scoring sheets. Though auditors found no evidence of intentional manipulation, the opportunity to manipulate scores did exist.

 Yost said that the findings were made available and that the Commerce Department so that the mistake could be corrected and not repeated. At that time, the Department more closely reviewed the information it was providing and later acknowledged scoring errors were made in the large-scale (Level I) cultivator final score calculation.

“The Department should have conducted this additional and more-thorough review before it awarded any licenses,” Auditor Yost said. “In an attempt to make up for the initial errors, the Department compounded the problem by awarding additional licenses outside the bounds of its authority.”

 The Department maintains that it acted legally in awarding additional Level I and Level II provisional licenses.

Auditors did not attempt to rescore the applications because they did not have the expertise in marijuana cultivation that the Commerce Department said was necessary for scoring.

Source: https://www.wkbn.com/news/local-news/ohio-faces-more-hurdles-in-marijuana-program/1440928512

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