What to know about the legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio

First Ohio medical marijuana store gets OK to open

The first medical marijuana dispensary in Ohio has been approved to open, but it may be a while before customers walk in.

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CY+, located in the village of Wintersville, near Steubenville is the first of 56 state-licensed medical marijuana outlets to receive a certificate of operation.

Wintersville is located about three hours east of Dayton on Interstate 70.

The dispensary is owned by Cresco Labs which also owns the medical marijuana growing operation near Yellow Springs.

“Receiving the first approval to operate is a major milestone in the transformation of the cannabis program in Ohio,” said Charles Bachtell, CEO of Cresco Labs. “This is also a big step forward for Cresco along our path of unparalleled speed to market, powerful influence in industry development, and proven execution in consumer markets.”

The dispensary will not be able to sell medical marijuana until their products are tested at state-certified testing labs.

None of the five labs that have provisional medical marijuana licenses in the state have been approved to start testing.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Hocking College’s lab will have its final inspection Dec. 18.

If it passes, lab director Jonathan Cachat says there could be a small amount of marijuana buds for sale by the year’s end.

Program running behind schedule

In October, the first batches of legal marijuana were expected to be available by mid-November.

Mark Hamlin of the Ohio Department of Commercet old the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee that the first batches will serve hundreds, not thousands, of patients. Likely, Ohio will see what played out in the early days in other states: a handful of dispensaries open, sell out in a matter of days, close again until more product is available, Hamlin said.

“It’ll be a choppy beginning but it’ll ramp up pretty steadily after that, ” he said.

Thousands sign up for marijuana card

More than 2,000 Ohioans entered into the state’s medical marijuana patient and caregiver registry within the first week of its operation with more than half already paying fees to activate their cards, according to the State Board of Pharmacy.

Rollout of the registry last week allowed qualified physicians to begin adding the names of patients and caregivers into the system. As of Monday, 1,062 patients and caregivers of the 1,948 entered had completed the process and paid an annual registration fee. The fee for patients is $50 and $25 for caregivers, though veterans and low-income patients may be eligible for lower fees.

RELATED: Ohio activates first 1,000 medical marijuana cards

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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