Ohio awards $1.75 million in contracts for medical marijuana program

When Ohio House Bill 523 was passed, legalizing medical marijuana in Ohio, part of the law left many wondering who would test the marijuana so patients could use it by the program’s start date of September 2018.

The law required an Ohio public higher-education institution to carry out the task of testing the product that will soon be available to patients who are eligible to receive medical marijuana if they have one of several approved pre-existing medical conditions, such as HIV, AIDS or cancer.

One state senator, Republican Frank LaRose, said when the bill was passed he intended for Ohio State to take up testing for the state, even going as far to say Ohio State officials were “gung-ho” about the role at first, per Jackie Borchardt of Cleveland.com.

However, Ohio State made clear a few weeks ago it would not apply to be a test site, pointing to hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding it would be at risk of losing, including both federal research grants and federal tuition assistance such as Pell Grants, Ohio State spokesman Ben Johnson said.

“Because of this wave of the number of states that have legalized medical marijuana, with Ohio being 25th, it was anticipated that there would be a relaxing at the federal level,” said Ohio State’s senior vice president of research, Carol Whitacre, in regard to the substance being classified as a Schedule I drug.

A public college or university could be at risk of losing funding if they were to participate in testing a drug the federal government has classified as Schedule I, in the same group as heroin and LSD, among others. Schedule I classification means the drug has no accepted medical use and has a high potential for abuse.

Read the rest of the story here.

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