Ohio’s medical marijuana patients are still months away from having the drug in hand.
But the wait for weed might not take as long as some have anticipated – and the first plants may be growing in Ohio next month.
The state acknowledged earlier this month that none of the 25 cultivators licensed to grow weed in Ohio were ready to begin planting in time to meet the anticipated Sept. 8 start date for Ohio’s medical marijuana program.
But grow times can be substantially reduced with well-chosen strains growing under optimal conditions like the high-tech indoor greenhouses that most Ohio growers plan to use, according to Nick Hice – one of the founders of Denver Relief Consulting, a nationally recognized marijuana consulting firm.
“If plants are in the ground by the end of the month or beginning of July, you could have product by the middle or end of September,” Hice said. “If it’s not going to be available on Sept. 8, it’s going to be available soon after.”
“It really depends on the genetic stock, and what they’re getting into the facility,” he said.
Some growers may choose to start with even faster-growing clones, or cuttings from mature marijuana plants that can be replanted and raised to produce buds.
And advances in hydroponics, or growing marijuana in nutrient-rich solutions, has also allowed cultivators to speed up growth rates as well as total yields.
Still, the grow cycle is only part of the process.
Once the buds are harvested, they still have to be dried for a few days to a week, then set aside to cure before they can be processed into the oils, edibles and other derivatives allowed for sale at licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Ohio.
The post-harvest process will add another two to four weeks to the time it takes to get medical weed to market in Ohio.
No matter how fast it can be grown and harvested, planting can’t begin until the facilities have been inspected and granted licenses to operate.
So far, 12 of 25 cultivators with provisional licenses to grow weed legally in Ohio have asked to have their facilities inspected by the Ohio Department of Commerce – one of three agencies regulating medical marijuana in Ohio.
|Grower||City||Proposed Inspection Date|
|AT-CPC of Ohio LLC||Akron||July|
|Agri-Med Ohio LLC||Langsville||July|
|Ancient Roots LLC||Wilmington||August|
|Ascension BioMedical LLC||Oberlin||August|
|Buckeye Relief LLC||Eastlake||July|
|Columbia Care OH LLC||Mt. Orab||Unscheduled|
|Cresco Labs Ohio LLC||Yellow Springs||July|
|FN Group Holdings LLC||Ravenna||June|
|Farkas Farms LLC||Grafton||Unscheduled|
|Fire Rock LTD||Akron||Unscheduled|
|Grow Ohio Pharmaceuticals LLC||Newton Township||July|
|Harvest Grows LLC||Hamilton Township||Unscheduled|
|Mother Grows Best LLC||Canton||Unscheduled|
|OPC Cultivation LLC||Huron||July|
|Ohio Clean Leaf LLC||Dayton||Rescheduled|
|Paragon Development Group LLC||Huber Heights||Unscheduled|
|Parma Wellness Center LLC||Parma||Unscheduled|
|PharmaCann Ohio LLC||Buckeye Lake||Unscheduled|
|Pure Ohio Wellness LLC||Springfield||May|
|Riviera Creek Holdings LLC||Youngstown||Unscheduled|
|Standard Wellness Company LLC||Gibsonburg||Unscheduled|
|Terradiol Ohio LLC||Canton||Unscheduled|
But one of the growers slated for inspection this month – Ohio Clean Leaf, which is building a grow operation in Dayton – had to reschedule its inspection because it was “experiencing delays at the local level,” according to a commerce department spokeswoman.
No new date has been set yet.
Pure Ohio Wellness – which has a provisional license for a large grow operation in Springfield – was the first to actually have an inspection in May.
But the grower was not granted a certificate of operation and now has until Aug. 30 to comply with a “plan of correction” from the commerce department.
Agency officials have said that it is incumbent upon the growers to be ready for inspection, which the commerce department has been prepared to conduct since the provisional licenses were first granted toward the end of last year.
FN Group Holdings in Ravenna is slated for inspection later this week, but it is the only grower that will be prepared for inspection before the end of the month.
The longer it takes for cultivators to receive their certificates, the longer medical marijuana patients will have to wait past Sept. 8.