Sandusky, OH (WEWS) -- Medical marijuana patients will enter four dispensaries for the first time Wednesday, Jan. 16 to buy the first medicinal marijuana in Ohio.
There will be medical marijuana on the shelves, but the system designed to restock the supply after the first product sells out still has a long way to go before it's completely built.
"I mean, look, Rome wasn't built in a day," said attorney Frantz Ward LLP Attorney Tom Haren, who represents medical marijuana businesses. "It's important to think about the context this program is operating in. This is a brand new industry here in Ohio."
Haren says the system Ohio set out to build is big and complex. That's part fo the reason why it wasn't ready on September 8, which is the date the state originally planned to allow patients to buy medical marijuana.
"I don't know if there's any new state program that's rolled out exactly on time," said The Botanist Canton CEO David Neundorfer. "The delays were somewhat expected."
There are four major steps medical cannabis takes before getting to patients.
Cultivation: growing medical marijuana plants Processing: turning the plant into oils, lotions, edibles and other products Testing: labs ensure the products meet state safety standards Dispensaries: selling products to patients at storefronts across the state Setting up the whole network has been behind schedule.
Right now, roughly half the cultivation facilities will eventually be operational are allowed to grow medical marijuana.
The state has no processors to create more complex products, so the product sold at dispensaries will only be marijuana flower that patients will be allowed to vape, because smoking marijuana is still illegal under Ohio law.
"At program launch, we have plant material that's going to be available for patients to consume," said The Botanist COO Kate Nelson. "The processed products are still a few months away."
There are two labs responsible for testing whatever product is heading to dispensary shelves.
There are only five dispensaries approved to open and four of them will be open on January 16 for patients.
CY+, 180 Main Street in Wintersville in Jefferson County Ohio Valley Natural Relief LLC, 840 Canton Road in Wintersville The Botanist, located at 3840 Greentree Ave. SW in Canton The Forest Sandusky, LLC, 1651 Tiffin Ave. in Sandusky
All but The Botanist, 30133 Euclid Ave. in Wickliffe, will open Wednesday at 9 a.m. to patients.
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