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Ohio issues 2 medical marijuana testing lab licenses after months-long wait, additional processor licenses

August 17, 2018

Ohio issues 2 medical marijuana testing lab licenses after months-long wait, additional processor licenses

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Columbus research giant Battelle and North Coast Testing Laboratories in Northeast Ohio were awarded medical marijuana testing lab licenses on Friday. 

The Ohio Department of Commerce also awarded two more marijuana product processor provisional licenses -- for a total of nine out of an available 40. Standard Wellness Company LLC may be the first company to be licensed at each level in the supply chain -- growing, manufacturing and selling. 

Testing lab and processor provisional licensees have six months to build their facilities and pass a state inspection before beginning operations.

State regulators previously licensed two colleges -- Hocking College in Nelsonville and Central State University in Wilberforce -- to test medical marijuana for potency and purity. Every batch of medical marijuana must be tested for the amount of THC, CBD and other compounds it contains, as well as pesticides, mold and other contaminants.

Of the nine entities that applied for testing licenses, two -- CAS Laboratories LLC and Akrivis Lab LLC -- were  disqualified. The department is still reviewing applications for the remaining three, an agency spokeswoman said. All three companies already operate testing labs in other states.

The schools and private companies applied in September and December, respectively. Licensees were supposed to be announced in the spring, but agency regulators determined none of the applications was complete.

In March, the department notified all applicants they needed to clarify or confirm information for 15 application requirements, including whether the proposed lab site was at least 500 feet from a school, church or other prohibited building.

The department has not released the applications submitted by the winning or losing companies. 

Department spokeswoman Kerry Francis said the agency plans to open a second round for testing lab applications but has not yet decided when.

The program will miss its Sept. 8 deadline to be “fully operational,” after delays in licensing cultivators and building cultivation facilities. The three companies allowed to grow marijuana so far say they expect to have some product available closer to the end of the year.

Processor licenses 

Patients with one of 21 medical conditions will be able to buy and use marijuana and marijuana products if recommended to them by a certified Ohio physician. Ohio law bars smoking marijuana or growing it at home but allows it to be sold at dispensaries in several forms. 

State rules initially allow up to 40 businesses to extract compounds from marijuana and make oils, lotions, edibles and other products. Of the 185 that applied, only 13 met the minimum standard scores. Earlier this month, the department awarded seven processor licenses and announced another six qualified companies were awaiting background or tax information checks. 

Two of those six were awarded processing licenses Friday. Green Investment Partners LLC plans to operate a processing facility in Columbus. 

Standard Wellness LLC has a large-scale cultivation facility in Gibsonburg, where it also plans to process marijuana. The company previously received a license to run a dispensary under the name The Forest Sandusky, making it one of Ohio’s first “vertically integrated” companies.

Three other licensed cultivators have received processor licenses: Small-scale growers Fire Rock LTD and OhiGrow LLC and large-scale grower Grow Ohio LLC. Fire Rock and Grow Ohio did not apply for dispensary licenses.

The Department of Commerce could not immediately say whether OhiGrow also received dispensary licenses because those licenses are issued by the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy.

The department has not yet released any processor applications, including those of the winners, in response to a public records request.

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