Ohio medical marijuana regulators have loosened several proposed restrictions on dispensaries that will sell the drug to patients.
Here are the new proposed rules, which are up for public comment until March 24:
- More dispensaries could dot the state. The board had suggested issuing up to 40 licenses. Now it’s 60. More dispensaries could open depending on certain factors.
- They’ll be able to stay open longer. The initial rules called for dispensaries to operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Now they could stay open to 9 p.m.
- Dispensaries don’t need to hire pharmacists or other medical professionals. The first proposal called for a part-time pharmacist or other qualified person to train employees and be on-call or on-site during operating hours. But “very few eligible persons” who responded to the Pharmacy Board’s survey were willing to do the job, or their employer would not allow them to be clinical director of a marijuana pharmacy, so that rule was removed.
- It’s now cheaper to operate a dispensary. The fee would be $70,000 every two years, down from $80,000.
- No coupons or discounts are allowed, except for military veterans and the poor.
- It’s easier to advertise. Advertisements will be reviewed by the state similarly to how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates pharmaceuticals. Previously, the Pharmacy Board wanted pre-approval requirements for every advertisement. Ads can’t be placed on broadcast, clothing or handheld signs, and can’t use marijuana leaves or slang terms.
Current rule proposals call for medical marijuana patients in Ohio to get up to six ounces of marijuana every three months – a smaller amount than most other states that allow sick people to buy the drug to treat ailments.
The board must issue final rules by September and issue licenses a year later.
Ohio lawmakers legalized medical marijuana last June, leaving most of the rule making up to state agencies.