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420 with CNW — Ohio to Move Medical Cannabis Regulation Away from Board of Pharmacy

Cannabis News Wire, Media Partners

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Ohio lawmakers have passed an operating budget with provisions that effectively remove the Board of Pharmacy as the entity in charge of the state’s cannabis industry and replace it with a new Division of Marijuana Control. The new regulatory agency for all cannabis-related matters will function under the auspices of the Ohio Department of Commerce.

Ever since former Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 523 into law and launched the state’s medical marijuana program, both the pharmacy and commerce departments had been tasked with overseeing the fledgling medical cannabis program. While the commerce department handled marijuana cultivators, processors and testing laboratories, the pharmacy department regulated retail operations and dispensaries as well as maintained Ohio’s registry of caregivers and medical marijuana patients.

Putting two departments in charge of medical cannabis proved to be a major headache for companies in Ohio’s medical cannabis market. These companies had to deal with both departments and all the bureaucracy that came with each. Large vertically integrated companies that were involved in cultivation, processing and sale had an especially challenging time dealing with both departments.

Ohio Medical Cannabis Industry Association’s government affairs director Charlie Trefny states that this system of shared governance would lead to disagreements due to different interpretations of rules. In some cases, Trefny says, the two departments would give cannabis companies different responses regarding the same issues. This includes providing conflicting feedback on critical issues such as product labeling, which could have dire consequences for medical cannabis operators.

Companies that aren’t vertically integrated were also forced to interact with both pharmacy and commerce. For instance, the pharmacy department would have to review labels attached to products from cultivators or processors resulting in cases where it would reject product labels that had been approved by the commerce department.

Medical cannabis operators have been asking regulators to grant the sector one regulator rather than two since its inception to make the regulatory environment more business-friendly. Trefny noted that consolidating regulation under a single department will make the medical cannabis supply chain more efficient as well.

According to language included in the recently approved operating budget, the pharmacy department will have to transfer its oversight of retailers, dispensaries and the state medical marijuana patient and caregiver registry to the commerce department by Dec. 31, 2023.

On the other hand, medical cannabis operators aren’t pleased with language included in the bill that would allow standalone processors to receive additional cultivation licenses and allow level 2 cultivators to expand their growing space to 15,000 square feet.

The improvements, which are likely to result from streamlining the regulation of medical cannabis in the state, could have additional benefits such as allowing ancillary firms operating in the same space, including Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX), to do brisk business with marijuana companies as demand grows.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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