It is only the cultivation of cannabis for medical use in Clermont County that is legal by virtue of the State of Ohio’s Substitute House Bill (Sub. H.B.) 523 passed in 2016. Moreover, cultivation is limited to cannabis plants with a maximum of 35% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, according to Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3796:2-2-07.
To cultivate medical cannabis commercially in Clermont County, businesses need to apply for a medical marijuana cultivator license to be granted by the Ohio Department of Commerce, the regulatory and licensing body for medical cannabis in the state. The Department manages the Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP).
A medical marijuana cultivator license at Level I or Level II may be applied for. A Level I license allows the bearer to cultivate up to 25,000 square feet of cannabis crops. Meanwhile, the holder of a Level II license is only permitted to have a cultivation area of up to 3,000 square feet in size. The Level II license holder may request to have their cultivation area increased, though, upon reaching the limit.
As of November 16, 2022, the MMCP issued [36 cultivator licenses](https://medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/documents/ProgramUpdate/COO Cultivator Licensees.pdf) across the state, of which 22 were Level 1 licenses and 14 were Level II licenses. There were no cultivator licensees in Clermont County.
A criminal history check is necessary for both the business owners who are requesting a license to cultivate medical cannabis and their staff members. A medical cannabis cultivation facility's site must be at least 500 feet away from a church, school, playground, public park, or library in order to receive a license.
The following non-refundable fees must be paid by applicants for and holders of licenses as medical cannabis cultivators:
|Level I||Level II|
|Initial License Fee||$180,000||$18,000|
|Annual License Renewal Fee||$200,000||$20,000|
OAC 3796:4-2-04 mandates that a random sample from each batch of cannabis it grows and harvests be taken by a medical cannabis cultivator licensee and submitted for analysis to an authorized independent laboratory. A batch of cannabis plants is defined by OAC 3796:1-1-01 as the same variety of cannabis plants that were cultivated and harvested at the same time and under the same circumstances. A batch is only allowed to include 15 pounds of dried flowers and buds or 25 pounds of other plant materials. The licensed medical cannabis cultivator is not permitted to sell the crops until the results of the batch testing are transmitted to the Ohio Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting & Compliance (METRC) system online.
The holders of a license to cultivate medical cannabis may only sell the plants and plant materials to other licensed medical cannabis cultivators, manufacturers, and dispensaries. They may not sell to medical marijuana cardholders.
OAC 3796:2-2-05 requires the cultivation facility to be protected by fences and locked, with only authorized persons given access to areas where medical cannabis plants or plant materials are present. A commercial-grade security system must be maintained that includes recorded date-and-time-stamped 24-hour video surveillance connected to the MMCP with footage kept for a minimum of 45 days, alarms that alert law enforcement, and adequate perimeter lighting.
It is only the manufacturing of medical cannabis products in Clermont County that is legal as mandated by Sub. H.B. 523 of the State of Ohio. Furthermore, this is limited to the manufacturing of medical cannabis products with a maximum of 70% THC content, according to OAC 3796:3-2-07.
A medical marijuana processor license from the Ohio Department of Commerce is required by the MMCP for any business to manufacture medical cannabis products. The same background check and location requirements as those for the medical marijuana cultivation license apply.
The following non-refundable fees must be paid for the medical cannabis processor license:
Application fee: $10,000
Certificate of operation fee: $90,000
Annual renewal fee: $100,000
As of December 21, 2022, the MCCP issued statewide 44 processor licenses and two provisional licenses, none of which are in Clermont County.
OAC 3796:3-2-05 requires security measures similar to those for cultivation licensees. OAC 3796:5-2-01 adds that only visitors with official business must be allowed in, and they must register before entry with a valid government-issued ID in order to be given a visitor’s pass. When in a space where medical cannabis is present, they must remain escorted.
Before selling any medical cannabis product, licensed medicinal cannabis manufacturers are required by OAC 3796:3-2-06 to have a certified independent laboratory test random samples from every product batch.
OAC 3796:3-2-02 states that all medical cannabis products must be packaged in light-resistant, tamper-evident, and childproof containers. A label with the following information clearly printed on it must be attached to every package:
The licensed manufacturer's name and license number
The licensed purchasing dispensary's name and license number
The authorized testing facility's name and license number
The medical cannabis product name, type, and lot number
The medical cannabis product weight and quantity of the package content
The cannabinoid profile of the medical cannabis product
The method of medical cannabis extraction employed
The dates of the medical cannabis product's manufacturing, testing, and packaging
The medical cannabis product's expiration date, which must not be more than one year from the manufacturing date
The means of administration or ingestion of the medical cannabis product
All warnings required by the State of Ohio
Edible medical cannabis products must have the following added to their label:
Exhaustive list of ingredients
Presence of major food allergens
State-required warnings on delayed effects of ingested medical cannabis
Medical cannabis processor licensees are not allowed to sell to medical marijuana cardholders, but only to other medical cannabis processor licensees or dispensary licensees.
It is only the retail selling of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products to medical marijuana cardholders in Clermont County that is legal as stipulated by Ohio’s Sub. H.B. 523. In compliance with OAC 3796:2-2-07 and OAC 3796:3-2-07, raw dried cannabis cannot have more than 35% THC content while medical cannabis products cannot have more than 70% THC content.
Furthermore, the company must be approved by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy for a medical marijuana dispensary license. As of March 15, 2023, 68 certificates of operation for dispensaries were issued statewide, one of which is located in Clermont County.
OAC 3796:6-5-01 requires the payment of a $5,000 medical cannabis dispensary license application fee, a $70,000 certificate of operation fee, and a $70,000 biennial renewal fee, all non-refundable. To qualify for a license, a medical cannabis dispensary must be at a distance of 500 feet or more from a church, playground, library, park, or school. OAC 3796:6-2-02 and OAC 3796:6-2-07 require a criminal background check on the owners, board members, officers, and employees of a company applying for a dispensary license.
The medical cannabis dispensary is required by OAC 3796:6-3-16 to implement a 24-hour security system with motion sensors, various alarms connected to law enforcement, and continuous video surveillance stamped with the time and date of footage to be archived. There must be guards during operational hours. Only dispensary employees and medical marijuana cardholders are to be allowed entry.
While OAC 3796:8-2-06 permits licensed dispensaries to sell medical cannabis oils, tinctures, lozenges, capsules, sublingual films, dissolving tablets, salves, patches, strips, sprays, and edible goods, it limits the allowed THC content per dose or serving to a maximum of 55 milligrams. OAC 3796.06 adds medical cannabis for vaping and medical cannabis flowers, buds, trim, and shakes to items allowed for sale. Upon request by a dispensary, the selling of [medical cannabis devices](https://medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/documents/licenseeresources/dispensary licensee resources/forms and guidance for compliance upload portal/request to sell medical marijuana device.pdf) is also allowed. Not allowed for sale are forms of medical cannabis meant to be smoked or ingested through combustion, or any form that is attractive to children.
OAC 3796:6-3-08 mandates that licensed dispensaries can only sell to medical marijuana cardholders who can also present another valid government-issued photo ID. These are to be used to check their identity and age and for comparison against the online Patient and Caregiver Registry.
Under OAC 3796:7-2-04, the licensed dispensary can only sell a 90-day supply of medical cannabis to a medical marijuana cardholder for every 90-day period. This must be bought in two separate transactions with equal quantities. However, if the physician’s recommendation is new, the first purchase may be for a 46-day supply. The licensed dispensary is accountable for ensuring that every patient stays within the limits.
OAC 3796:8-2-04 breaks this down as follows:
|Regular Patient||Patient with a Terminal Illness|
|Plant material||9 oz or 254.7 grams||10 oz or 283.5 grams|
|Transdermal patch, cream, lotion, or ointment||26.55 grams of THC||29.5 grams of THC|
|Oil, tincture, capsule, or edible medical cannabis products||9.9 grams of THC||11 grams of THC|
|Oil for vaporization||53.1 grams of THC||59 grams of THC|
Every purchase must be logged by the licensed dispensary in its internal inventory tracking system, which must be synced in real-time with the medical cannabis inventory monitoring system of the state.
To provide drive-through purchase services, a licensed dispensary must get the approval of the Board of Pharmacy. It must submit a site design with tighter security, such as the use of bullet-resistant glass.
It is not legal in Clermont County for even licensed dispensaries to deliver medical cannabis and medical cannabis products to medical marijuana cardholders in accordance with the State of Ohio’s OAC 3796:6-3-08. Only the delivery of medical cannabis among licensed medical cannabis businesses is allowed.
Clermont County residents may get a medical marijuana card by applying to the MMCP. They must first be diagnosed by a physician with a certificate to recommend (CTR) from the State Medical Board of Ohio to have one of the medical conditions qualified for medical cannabis treatment. These are:
Inflammatory bowel disease
Post‐traumatic stress disorder
Traumatic brain injury
Chronic, severe, or intractable pain
Positive HIV status
Sickle cell anemia
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
Inflammatory bowel disease
Spinal cord disease or injury
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Any additional medical condition identified by the state medical board adds
The physician will log into the Patient & Caregiver Registry to create the patient’s profile and send the recommendation for medical cannabis use. The physician will also specify if a caregiver is needed. The patient’s and caregiver’s respective valid government-issued ID cards and email addresses must be presented to the doctor.
The patient and caregiver will each get an email that activates the registration. They need to access their accounts, finish their applications, and pay either the $25 registration charge for caregivers or the $50 registration fee for patients.
Veterans and individuals who are considered to be impoverished are eligible for a 50% discount. The physician must indicate in the registry that they are requesting this reduction. Thereafter, they must use one of the following means to submit the necessary paperwork:
Mail: State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy
MMCP Patient Registry
77. S. High Street, 17th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
The following must be submitted by veterans:
National Archives National Personnel Records Center Separation Report
National Guard Bureau Military Discharge Certificate, DD215, or DD214
ID from the Department of Defense
ID from the Department of Veterans Affairs
The following must be submitted by individuals receiving government aid due to poverty:
A personal identification document
Ohio State Retirement System monthly disability beneficiary documentation
Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) beneficiary documentation
Documentation of monthly benefits received from these programs for the year of application to the MMCP
The approved medical marijuana card will be available to the patient and caregiver [through the online registry for printing](https://medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/Documents/PatientsCaregivers/Quick Reference Guide - Activating Your Medical Marijuana Card.pdf#:~:text=PLEASE%20NOTE%3A%20The%20Board%20of%20Pharmacy%20will%20not,you%20to%20purchase%20medical%20marijuana%20at%20a%20dispensary.).
In Ohio, medical marijuana is subject to the same 5.25% state sales tax as other goods, and municipal sales taxes ranging from 0.25% to 2.25%. The MMCP's [program update](https://medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/Documents/ProgramUpdate/program update.pdf) of February 21, 2023 states that as of February 19, medical cannabis product sales totaled $1.2 billion and its total receipts were nearly 9.27 million. Clermont County is receiving a portion of these earnings from one medical cannabis dispensary within its jurisdiction.
Medical cannabis was legalized in 2016 in Clermont County. Data from the Clermont County Sheriff's Office on the FBI’s Crime Explorer page shows that a year before medical cannabis legalization in 2015, there were 95 marijuana offense arrests, with 93 for possession and two for manufacturing or sales.
A year after medical cannabis legislation, in 2017, there were 163 marijuana offense arrests, with 162 for possession and one for manufacturing or sales.
In 2018, there were 131 marijuana offense arrests, with 129 for possession and two for manufacturing or sales.
In the latest available data in 2021, there were 93 marijuana offense arrests, all for possession.
There were 15 DUI arrests in 2015, 13 in 2017, and 45 in 2021. There is no data on the number of DUI arrests in the county in 2018.