Denver, Colorado – When Ohio lawmakers voted to legalize medical marijuana earlier this year, the rest of the country was watching.
Ohio has twice the population of Colorado, considered the pioneer for state-regulated medical and recreational marijuana programs. And Ohio’s list of acceptable medical conditions includes chronic pain, which usually means a larger patient pool and thus larger market for marijuana businesses.
Ohio’s market could produce between $200 and $400 million in annual sales, according to an analysis by trade publication Marijuana Business Daily.
But the details of Ohio’s program have yet to be worked out. Three regulatory agencies could take up to two years to complete them.
Still, marijuana businesses and industry leaders are optimistic about Ohio’s law.
Medicine Man was among the first medical marijuana companies in Colorado, and it plans to help Ohio businesses get off the ground. Carrie Roberts, a licensing consultant with the company’s consulting arm, Medicine Man Technologies, said the law’s medical conditions and allowed forms should encourage a healthy market.
“The rules we’ve seen so far are very robust and it looks like Ohio could be a very good marketplace both for patients and business operators,” Roberts said.
Shawn Coleman, a lobbyist for marijuana company Terrapin Care Station, said Ohio was more progressive than other states in some areas.
Ohio’s law bars people from getting a marijuana business license if they’ve been convicted of a felony or certain other crimes within the past five years, compared to 10 years in Colorado, Coleman said. Ohio’s law also mandates 15 percent of marijuana business licenses must go to minority business owners. It’s a first, and its constitutionality could be challenged in court.
Coleman said state lawmakers should look to Colorado’s legislature for an example of how to work on the issue in a bipartisan way. He said Ohio regulators should keep patients in mind when crafting rules and avoid burdensome restrictions.
“We can’t legislate to the people who shouldn’t have it,” Coleman said. “We should legislate to the people who actually need it.”
News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Colorado Marijuana Businesses Optimistic About Ohio Medical Marijuana Law
Author: Jackie Borchardt
Photo Credit: Rapid City Journal