State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) today announced the release of $1,805,477 in state funds to assist state agencies in the creation of the Medical Marijuana Control Program for fiscal year 2017. This past May, lawmakers passed House Bill (HB) 523, bi-partisan legislation to legalize the use of certain forms of medical marijuana in Ohio to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries. 

“I’m pleased to see that the necessary steps are being taken immediately as this law takes effect,” said Ramos. “It is important that we are able to get this vital medicine to patients who need it as soon as possible.”

The state funds will be used to establish a Medical Marijuana Control Program Fund. The new fund will allow both the Department of Commerce (COM) and the Pharmacy Board (PRX) to operate the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.

An appropriation of $882,400 will go to PRX to support the Board’s role in overseeing the program. The Board is responsible for hiring oversight staff, developing a patient/caregiver registration as well as updating the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS), licensing medical marijuana dispensaries, and operating the Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee.

Additionally, $923,077 in state funds will be utilized by COM to account for expenses associated with the Medical Marijuana Control Program via an appropriation line item under HB 523. COM is required to license medical marijuana cultivators, processors and laboratories that test the medicine, as well as spearhead the creation of a research database coinciding with the establishment of the medical marijuana program.

Rep. Ramos recommends the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program website as tool for anyone that may have questions regarding the new program. HB 523 will take effect September 8.

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