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After Error, Ohio Senator Seeks Review of Medical Cannabis Program

February 22, 2018
(benkrut/iStock)
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A state lawmaker moved Thursday to force a thorough review of Ohio’s medical marijuana program because of mistakes in selecting grower applicants.

Republican Sen. Bill Coley, of Cincinnati, proposed legislation that would require State Auditor Dave Yost to conduct and release a performance audit of the program. The bill holds up grower, processor and tester licenses until program flaws can be addressed.

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Ohio’s medical marijuana law, passed in 2016, allows people with any of 21 medical conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy, to buy and use marijuana if a doctor recommends it. It doesn’t allow smoking.

The program was supposed to be up and running by Sept. 8. Coley said his bill would not affect that timing.

“As a human endeavor, there’s going to be mistakes made,” he said. “The question in somebody’s character is what do you do when you find out about it.”

The Ohio Department of Commerce acknowledged last week that a scoring error led to one company’s inadvertent exclusion from the list of the dozen big marijuana growers receiving provisional licenses.

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The agency said it identified the mistake after Yost expressed concern that two employees had complete access to the scoring data.

The department offered to put the program on hold, but Yost said in a letter to the agency sent Wednesday that it’s too late for that. A message was left with the department Thursday seeking comment on Coley’s bill.

The acknowledged error in scoring has been accompanied by additional allegations of mistakes by others.

A lawsuit filed by some unsuccessful applicants earlier this week claims state regulators failed to follow their own rules when awarding provisional licenses for growing facilities late last year.

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Several groups allege various failures in the licensing process, including “scoring errors, undisclosed conflicts of interest, and undisclosed loopholes in the security of information.” They ask a judge to revoke the licenses and prevent the department from issuing operators’ permits to the companies.

Yost, a Republican running for attorney general, said Thursday that he and his staff will review Coley’s legislation and work closely with him and the Legislature “to take the steps necessary to ensure Ohioans have confidence in the medical marijuana program.”

He said his office also is continuing to review processes and controls at the Commerce Department to identify any additional system weaknesses.

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  • David Manevich

    Just another stall tactic by our state legislation. How stupid do they think we are. Ohios MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM was meant to fail and these are just more stall tactics…. Geez just make it legal already and take all this BS and stick it where the sun dont shine… Wait till next election when all you corrupted state officials get voted out of office and say goodbye to your corporate and state monopolies get shoved up your collective assholes.
    YOUR JOBS are to go along with the will of the people not fill your bank accounts on our backs.
    DO YOUR JOBS AND THAT IS WHAT WE THE VOTERS WANT NOT YOUR OWN AGENDAS….

  • teslafy

    Effing hypocrites! Every other State with medical marijuana has provisions allowing those medical recipients to grow plants to obtain their own homegrown medicine. Not the illegal State of Ohio, which never allowed their citizens the privilege of voting for Statehood! Now these government hoodlums are playing the same tricks again. We know what the people need without asking them! No need for voting or referendums. We will decide what is good for them because We are the government, not from the people, or for the people: because we already know they are not people, but sheeple, or how could we get away with what we have already did! Ohio’s medical marijuana law was never voted on, or put up for referendum. Once again our legislators know what is good for us and we will do as we please because we are the government. We will make the drug in the plant legal, but we will control things from the top to the bottom. The medicine is now legal, but we will not allow you to obtain it yourself by growing plants that contain the medicine! Sounds like a spokesman for big Pharma. WE MUST BE THE ONLY MIDDLEMAN HERE. This is absolutely the height of hypocrisy.