COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio said Tuesday that it will not have medical marijuana available by the September deadline, even as a key backer of recreational marijuana legalization said he’s using a combination of strategies to continue expanding access to safe cannabis.
Several cultivators who were close to ramping up operations experienced inspection delays that now make it impossible to meet the date set by Ohio’s 2016 medical marijuana law, Department of Commerce policy adviser Mark Hamlin said.
“We know that the public expectation and patient expectation around Sept. 8 was significant, so that was really important to us to try to hit because we know that people have been counting on that date,” he said. “We don’t take lightly that the product is not going to be available on that date.”
Hamlin contended that the state is not technically out of compliance with the law, because it called for the program itself — not the marijuana — to be ready on the implementation date.
He couldn’t say exactly when sales will begin, other than as soon as possible. Ohio has licensed 25 large and small growers and on Monday awarded 56 dispensary licenses.
Ian James, who ran the unsuccessful ballot campaign to legalize both recreational and medical marijuana in 2015, likened a series of missteps with the program —