Sell medical marijuana to patients suffering from cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and epilepsy. Set up a well-regulated, safe industry. Do it all in two years. Start this Saturday.
But that didn’t happen. Patients won’t have medical cannabis in their hands by the Sept. 8 deadline set by lawmakers when they passed a bill legalizing the treatment more than two years ago.
Of the 26 businesses selected to grow cannabis in Ohio, just four have passed inspections to begin planting seeds. The first seeds were planted July 31 and will take 16 to 22 weeks to reach maturity.
If those plants are going to be processed into oils, edibles and other products, Ohio will likely need more than the 10 processors that have met the state’s requirements so far. More than 100 businesses applied, but few passed muster.
Ohio is not the first state to legalize medical marijuana. It could have learned from states like Maine, which ramped up a basic program within a year, said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project. Pennsylvania’s law legalizing medical cannabis took effect in May 2016 and the first product was sold this February.