Employees prune marijuana plants at a CannaCraft grow house in Santa Rosa, Calif., Oct. 22, 2016. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)

Would you pay $50 a year to use medical marijuana in Ohio?

Users must pay state $50 annually for medical marijuana patient cards, proposed rules say.

RELATED: Rules for cultivators were rolled out in November

The advisory panel is taking public comment until Feb. 10 on proposed rules for processors and patients for Ohio’s nascent medical marijuana program. The proposed rules must be adopted by September.

The proposed rules for patients and caregivers include:

  • Required registration with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.
  • Annual registration fees will be $15 for caregivers and $50 for patients — a 50 percent reduction for veterans or indigent patients.
  • Minor patients must have a parent or legal representative serve as their caregiver.
  • Caregivers must be 21 or older and may serve up to two patients.
  • Applications from terminally ill patients shall be approved or denied within 10 business days.

RELATED: Rules for dispensaries came out in December

To qualify for the registry, patients must have a physician diagnose that they suffer from a qualifying condition and issue a recommendation that they use medical marijuana.

Up to 40 licenses will be issued for medical marijuana processors, who convert the plant material into oils, extracts, edibles and other forms for patient use. Processors will have to pay $100,000 fee for a license application as well as a $90,000 certificate of operation fee. Annual renewal fees will be $100,000.

The proposed rules for processors spell out requirements for facility plans, access to capital, employee training, safety and ID cards, lab testing and inspections.

RELATED: Some companies in Ohio and communities are ready to embrace the new industry

Chris Lindsey, senior legislative counsel for the Marijuana Policy Project, a national non-profit that advocates for legal marijuana, said Ohio’s proposed patient rules and fees are not out of line with what has been imposed by other states.

“The initial take (on Ohio’s proposed rules) is I don’t see any serious red flags for patients or caregivers,” Lindsey said. “With every single state program, there is a fee you pay on an annual or biannual basis.”

He noted, however, that Ohio’s proposed fees for processors will make it an expensive state in which to do business.

Ohio legalized medical marijuana last June when Gov. John Kasich signed a bill into law that authorizes use by patients with 21 conditions, including cancer or chronic pain, in the form of edibles, oils, patches and vaporizing. Smoking or home growing it is barred.

The program is being established and regulated by three state agencies: Board of Pharmacy, Department of Commerce and State Medical Board.


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