Big Brother will be watching Ohioans buy medical marijuana next year.
The state also will have access to cameras inside grow, processing and testing facilities, too – any time it wants. That means more than 1,000 cameras will be accessible across about 130 facilities when the program is running in fall 2018.
“Given an initial camera population of over 1,000 cameras across an Ohio medical marijuana entity facility population of 100+ facilities, the state requires an efficient means of monitoring camera operational status as well as an efficient path for identifying a particular camera at a particular facility for real-time camera viewing,” according to the department, which will regulate medical marijuana growers, processors and testers as one of three state agencies monitoring the industry.
Ohio law requires medical marijuana businesses to install video cameras that capture the entire facility, including at safes, vaults and where marijuana is grown and handled.
Businesses must give the Department of Commerce and Pharmacy Board, which regulates dispensaries, login information so the agencies can access their video feeds. The State Medical Board of Ohio is the third government agency involved in medical marijuana. It certifies doctors to recommend the drug and approves any new qualifying conditions.
About 130 facilities are expected at the start of the medical marijuana program, which Ohio lawmakers passed last year. That includes 24 cultivators, 40 processors and 60 dispensaries, including five in Franklin County. There’s no limit to the number of testing labs, though so far no university has committed to becoming a test location.
The company that wins the state’s contract will build a system to allow the state to access any camera, no matter the manufacturer. It must be ready by April 1, 2018 – five months before the planned start date of the medical marijuana program, which is when patients will be able to buy the drug.