The cultivation of medical cannabis by businesses with a certificate of operation is legal in Ohio following the approval of House Bill 523. However, Fairfield County does not have a certificate of operation licensee as of October 2022, making cannabis cultivation illegal. Additionally, the home cultivation of marijuana is not allowed in the entire state. The recreational or adult use of marijuana remains illegal.
Cultivators may grow, harvest, package, and transport medical marijuana products registered and approved by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. Level I cultivators operate on a maximum lot area of 25,000 square feet, while Level II cultivators may operate on a smaller size of 3,000 square feet. These establishments, which are regulated by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP), should be located 500 feet away from schools, churches, public libraries, playgrounds, and public parks. Depending on the approved operations and quality assurance plan, outdoor cultivation may be allowed.
Pursuant to Ohio Administrative Code Rule 3796:2-2-01, all cultivators should implement rules and regulations for receiving, inspecting, transporting, separating, preparing, packaging, and storing medical marijuana in accordance with acceptable sanitary standards. Only quantities needed for its normal operations may be cultivated. Appropriate storage and adequate security measures, including security alarm systems, video surveillance systems, and fencing, are required following Rule 3796:2-2-05. Selling any form of medical marijuana to a patient or caregiver or allowing its consumption on its premises is strictly prohibited.
Cannabis processors manufacture medical marijuana products. They may be categorized as standalone, vertically integrated, or plant-only processor which directly distributes plant material to a dispensary. While the state of Ohio allows the manufacturing of medical marijuana, Fairfield County does not have any cannabis processors with a certificate of operation as of October 2022.
Operations of cannabis processors are subject to compliance with Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3796:3-2. The facility should have designated areas categorized based on function with installed security and surveillance systems. Moreover, it should employ methods, equipment, solvents, and gases approved by the state and hire appropriately trained staff. Products distributed by processors to dispensaries must be stored in child-proof, tamper-evident, and light-resistant packages labeled properly following Rule 3796:3-2-02. For traceability in the department's inventory monitoring system, processors should maintain thorough inventories of medical marijuana, medical marijuana extract, and medical marijuana products. This will allow the processor to identify any diversion, theft, or loss quickly.
Cannabis retail is legal in Fairfield County, having one dispensary with a certificate of operation as of August 2022. Oils, tinctures, plant materials, edibles, patches, and other forms described under Section 3796.061 of the Revised Code may be sold by licensed dispensaries.
Following House Bill 523, dispensaries may only sell medical marijuana products to actively registered patients with a qualifying condition, medical marijuana card, and physician’s recommendation. A 90-day supply may be dispensed and divided into two 45-day fill periods – days 1 to 45 as the first fill period and days 46 to 90 as the second fill period. All dispensed products must be labeled with the following information:
Name and address of the licensed processor and retail dispensary
Name of patient and caregiver
Name of recommending physician
Directions for use
Date of dispensing
Quantity, strength, kind, and form of medical marijuana dispensed
Only appropriately trained staff may operate a dispensary. All collected information from patients shall remain confidential.
Fairfield County does not allow the delivery of cannabis to medical marijuana cardholders. This is in line with Rule 3796:6-3-08 which states that medical marijuana may not be sold, dispensed, or distributed to any patient or caregiver through a delivery service. However, caregivers are legally allowed to transport medical marijuana bought from dispensaries to a cardholder. House Bill 523 also allows the following movement of medical marijuana: delivery from a licensed cultivator to other licensed processors or delivery from a licensed cultivator to other licensed dispensaries.
Fairfield County residents may apply for a medical marijuana card by visiting a certified physician to confirm that their condition warrants the use of medical marijuana. A patient may qualify if they have any of the following conditions: HIV/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, Hepatitis C, Huntington’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic or intractable pain, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spasticity, spinal cord disease or injury, terminal illness, Tourette syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis.
After the assessment, the certifying physician will create the patient’s profile in the Patient & Caregiver Registry. An email will be sent to the patient or caregiver to allow them to complete their registration in the Patient Registry. An annual fee of $50 for patients and $25 for caregivers will be collected to keep their registration.
The MMCP may be reached at 1-833-464-6627 or through its online form for inquiries.
Fairfield County does not impose a special tax on cannabis sales. However, all sales of medical marijuana are subject to a 5.75% state tax and a 1.5% local tax which significantly contributes to the growth of the county’s economy. As of November 2022, Ohio has registered a total of 317,018 patients and $1.09 billion in product sales.
Fairfield County legalized the medical use of marijuana in 2016 following the state approval of House Bill 523. According to the available report of the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office on the FBI Crime Data Explorer, marijuana possession offenses in the county have decreased since its legalization – from 76 arrests in 2014 to 11 in 2021. Additionally, arrests for marijuana drug sale offenses were reduced from five in 2014 to zero in 2021.