State regulators working to meet a Sept. 8 deadline to set up Ohio’s medical marijuana program now say there won’t be any products available to patients by that time.
Mark Hamlin, senior policy advisor to the Ohio Department of Commerce, said Tuesday the date by which marijuana plants needed to be in the ground in order to meet the deadline has passed. Plants can take 12 to 16 weeks to grow, and none of the 25 provisional grow licensees have been OK’d to start growing.
“I know the patients and patient advocates have been circling that day on their calendars and it’s important to them and the fact that we are where we are in terms of the timeline, I can’t stress enough, that date has been important to us,” Hamlin said in an interview. “The whole purpose of this program is to provide safe, reliable and sustainable medical marijuana to the patients of Ohio who need it.”
Industry observers have questioned for months whether Ohio’s program would materialize under the state’s aggressive time line laid out one year ago. Getting medical marijuana in the hands of patients before the statutory deadline has long been a stretch, but just a few weeks ago, state regulators said some dispensaries would offer limited products to patients on that date.