On Nov. 1, the Ohio Department of Commerce (ODC) released its draft version of the medical marijuana cultivator rules. The rules are available on the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP) website: medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/rules.

The rules provide ODC the ability to issue up to 18 provisional cultivator licenses prior to Sept. 8, 2018, and allow discretion to ODC’s director to issue additional provisional licenses after Sept. 9, 2018. While these rules might not directly affect schools, there are several provisions that could have an indirect impact. Some provisions that may indirectly affect schools include: 1) cultivator location changes; 2) cultivator operations, including storage, security and waste disposal; and most notably, 3) facility distance from public spaces provisions, which include allowing cultivators to continue operations if a prohibited facility moves within 500 feet of an existing cultivation facility.

Prohibited facilities are defined as schools, churches, public libraries, public playgrounds and public parks. Ohio Revised Code (RC) 3796.30 prohibits medical marijuana cultivators, processors, retail dispensaries and laboratories from operating within 500 feet of a prohibited facility. The draft rules detail how this distance should be measured, as well as an allowance for continued operation of cultivator, processor, retail dispensary or laboratory facilities when a prohibited facility moves within 500 feet of an existing cultivator, processor, retail dispensary or laboratory.

ODC has provided a process for submitting public input on the rules, under which comments will be accepted through close of business on Nov. 15, 2016. Public input should be submitted via email to MMCPRules@com.ohio.gov and include “Cultivator Rules Public Input” in the subject line. General questions also can be submitted to this email address, using the subject line “Question.” ODC’s detailed process contains additional tips for commenters. Be sure to read through the rules and send in any relevant comments prior to the Nov. 15 deadline.

Should you miss this initial deadline for comments on the draft rules, there will be additional opportunities before the rules are finalized. As part of the Common Sense Initiative (CSI), OMMCP agencies are required to complete a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) and submit it and the proposed rules to the CSI office. Members of the public also will have the opportunity to comment during this process. After the rules return with recommendations from CSI, they will then be submitted to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) where there will public hearings at which any member of the public may testify.

As you can see, there are several opportunities to provide input and recommendations. It is wise to read through the rules and provide any input now, and continue to monitor changes as the rules evolve prior to finalization. OSBA will keep you posted on any revisions that affect schools. 

Posted by Megan Greulich on 11/7/2016