State loans medical marijuana program $2.1 million

A state board authorized a $2.1 million loan Monday afternoon to Ohio agencies that are running the medical marijuana program, which is experiencing delays getting product on shelves.

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program is expected to be self-supporting from license fees from cultivators, dispensaries, testing labs and other medical marijuana-related enterprises. The businesses are to start paying the fees once they receive certificates of operation from state regulators, Mark Hamlin, senior policy adviser for Ohio’s Department of Commerce, told the Ohio Controlling Board, made up of lawmakers and representatives of Gov. John Kasich.

But few certificates of operation have been awarded, due to a series of delays that have prevented the program from being fully operational Sept. 8, the deadline specified under the Ohio law that legalized medical marijuana.

Meantime, the state has faced a handful of lawsuits from medical marijuana businesses that didn’t win licenses, which has run up legal fees, Hamlin said. Some cases are being appealed.

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