New rules set for medical marijuana use in Ohio

Laura A. Bischoff, Columbus bureau

3:30 p.m Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017
Columbus, Ohio is taking steps to make sure medical marijuana isn’t pitched in a way that is attractive to kids by banning cartoon characters, candy look-alikes and fruit shapes and requiring child-resistant packaging.

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy, one of three state agencies overseeing the medical marijuana program, has posted proposed rules that call for a ban on vaporizing medical marijuana by patients under 18, a limit on oil flavors, and restrictions on marketing toward children.

Buddie, the green mascot used in the 2015 ResponsibleOhio campaign to legalize medical and recreational use of marijuana, would likely be banned under the proposed rules, which ban the use of cartoon characters.

The board of pharmacy is also proposing rules that define what constitutes a 90-day supply based on the THC content in different forms. Limits would include four to six ounces of plant material based on THC content, 40.5 grams of THC for oils for vaporizing, 19.8 grams of THC for trans-dermal patches and 9 grams of THC for edibles, oils and tinctures.

The dried plant material limit is on the low end, compared with other states. Eleven states allow more than seven ounces, according to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy research.

The Ohio Department of Commerce, another of the three state agencies regulating the marijuana program, posted proposed rules to govern testing labs. The rules include: employment of scientific directors, $2,000 application fees, $20,000 annual license renewal fees, certification and accreditation requirements, security plans and testing requirements.

Public comment on the new proposed rules is open until March 10. The rules need multiple levels of approval: the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee, the Common Sense Initiative and the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.

Rules for growers, dispensaries, patients and caregivers are in the approval pipeline.

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