Yo, what up? This is Dan and I gotta tell you about some crazy stuff going down in Ohio. So, there’s this bill, Senate Bill 9 (SB 9), that’s all about changing Ohio’s medical marijuana program. But, here’s the thing: a group of medicinal cannabis operators and advocates are totally against it. They be saying that if SB 9 passes, it’s gonna mess everything up!
The Ohio Medical Cannabis Industry Association (OMCIA) ain’t happy about this bill, not even a little bit. They say that if SB 9 becomes law, there’ll be too many dispensaries and too much weed being grown. That’s gonna lead to way too much supply and not enough demand. And, you know what that means – the cannabis industry in Ohio is gonna get wrecked.
Check this out: Daniel Kessler, co-owner and CEO of Rivera Creek, a medical marijuana cultivator and processor, spoke out against SB 9. He said, “SB 9 punishes companies like mine that have invested hundreds of millions of development dollars into our state. Instead of reducing bureaucracy, this bill does the opposite by adding an additional level of oversight in the form of a commission of lifetime political appointees.”
The OMCIA is saying that SB 9 is adding more than 60 new medical marijuana dispensary licenses to the 130 permits already issued. Plus, the bill creates more cultivation licenses for some independent cannabis processors as well as processing licenses for level 2 cultivators. That’s a whole lot more weed being grown!
Now, the guy who introduced SB 9, Senator Steve Huffman said that this bill is gonna make things easier for everyone. He said that many growers want to expand and grow more weed but they can’t because of all the red tape they gotta go through. The Department of Commerce takes forever to approve applications from growers. Huffman thinks that SB 9 will speed things up and make it easier for growers to do their thing.
But here’s what the OMCIA is saying: there are already a bunch of growers in Ohio who aren’t even growing at full capacity right now. They don’t need more room to grow weed! Plus, Ohio’s medical marijuana program already has rules in place that let current operators expand their operations as demand grows.
Bryan Murray, executive vice president of government relations at Acreage Holdings, another big cannabis operator said, “We are opposed to the massive expansion outlined in SB 9 because it lacks the data justifying that such an expansion is needed. The negative impact of oversupply in markets across the nation cannot be overstated – and opening the floodgates in contradiction to market realities would be detrimental to the industry in Ohio.”
Kessler from Rivera Creek said that if SB 9 passes there’s gonna be way too much supply for not enough demand. He said, “Despite my company’s high-quality product reputation, we currently have hundreds of pounds of product in our inventory that we cannot sell. Even at wholesale pricing, the demand is not there. If the bill passes in its current state, it is likely that the industry will crumble, and the only winner will be the illegal illicit market.”
So what does this bill actually do? It creates a new state agency within the Ohio Department of Commerce called the Division of Marijuana Control to oversee Ohio’s medical marijuana program. And there’s gonna be a 13-member commission responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly.
SB 9 also adds a bunch of new medical conditions that qualify you to use weed medicinally such as autism spectrum disorder and opioid use disorder. Right now there are already over two dozen conditions like cancer and chronic pain that qualify you to use medicinal cannabis.
But wait, there’s more! The OMCIA thinks that instead of making it easier for growers to grow more weed, laws should be changed so more patients can use weed medicinally. They recommend adding anxiety, insomnia and depression as qualifying conditions for the program.
And they’re calling for other changes too like lowering annual medical marijuana identification card fees or getting rid of them altogether. Plus they want medical marijuana recommendations to be valid for three years instead of just one year.
The OMCIA also wants patients with incurable conditions to be able to use weed medicinally for life! And they want taxes on medical marijuana purchases to be eliminated – on every level – state, county AND local taxes!
One last thing they’re asking for: employment protections for medical marijuana cardholders and making it illegal to sell any kind of intoxicating hemp cannabinoids outside of Ohio’s regulated medical marijuana program.
So there you have it folks – some serious drama happening in Ohio over medical marijuana laws. This bill could change everything – but some people are fighting back hard against it! Stay tuned to see what happens next…