Yes, it is legal to cultivate cannabis in Lake County, but Ohio’s Substitute House Bill (Sub. H.B.) 523 which was passed on June 8, 2016, stipulates that this is limited to cannabis for medical use. Furthermore, according to Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3796:2-2-07 cannabis plants for medical use must have not more than 35% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content.
To legally cultivate medical cannabis, companies must be granted a medical marijuana cultivator license by the Ohio Department of Commerce. Under Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP), it is the body that also regulates medical cannabis cultivation.
The medical marijuana cultivator license comes as Level I or Level II. Level I licensees are authorized to grow medical cannabis in an area as large as 25,000 square feet whereas Level II licensees are limited to an area measuring 3,000 square feet. The license holders may apply for an extension once they have filled up their approved areas for cultivation.
Level II cultivator license applications were the first to have been received, from June 5 to 16, 2017. Level I cultivator license applications were received from June 19 to 30, 2017. As of January 2023, the MMCP had issued 33 cultivator licenses throughout the state of Ohio. There are 19 Level I cultivator licensees, of which one is located in Lake County, and 14 Level II cultivator licensees.
A criminal background check is required for all medical marijuana cultivator licensees and their employees. Any licensed medical marijuana cultivation facility must not be less than 500 feet from the borderline of a church, school, public library, public playground, or public park.
The following non-refundable fees are required from medical marijuana cultivator license holders:
|Level I||Level II|
|Initial License Fee||$180,000||$18,000|
|Annual License Renewal Fee||$200,000||$20,000|
OAC 3796:4-2-04 requires licensed medical marijuana cultivators to have an independent laboratory test random samples that have been taken from each batch of cannabis plants they grow and harvest. According to the definition of OAC 3796:1-1-01, a batch is a group of the same variety of medical cannabis plants that have been cultivated and gathered together under the same condition. They must make up not more than 15 pounds if comprised of dried buds or flowers, or not more than 25 pounds if comprised of other plant materials. A licensed medical marijuana cultivator is prohibited from releasing any cannabis plants until after the batch test results are submitted to the Ohio Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting & Compliance (METRC) online system.
Licensed medical marijuana cultivators are only allowed to sell their plants to other licensed medical marijuana cultivators, licensed medical marijuana processors, and licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. They are prohibited from selling these to patients and caregivers directly.
Yes, it is legal to manufacture cannabis in Lake County, but to comply with Sub. H.B. 523 of Ohio, this is limited to cannabis products for medical use only. Also, OAC 3796:3-2-07 mandates that any manufactured medical cannabis products must have not more than 70% THC content.
For any company to legally manufacture medical cannabis, a medical marijuana processor license must first be granted by the Ohio Department of Commerce according to the MMCP. The Department of Commerce also regulates all aspects of medical cannabis manufacturing.
A criminal background check is necessary for all medical marijuana processor licensees and their staff. Each licensed medical marijuana processing facility must be located 500 feet or farther from any public park, public playground, public library, school, or church.
Medical marijuana processor license applicants are required to pay a $10,000 non-refundable application fee. If licensed, they must pay the $90,000 non-refundable certificate of operation fee and the $100,000 annual processor license renewal fee.
Medical marijuana processor license applications were closed in September 2018. There were 44 certificate of operation licenses and two provisional licenses issued throughout Ohio as of January 2023. Lake County is the base of one certificate of operation license.
OAC 3796:3-2-05 mandates that a licensed medical cannabis processing facility should be guarded against unlawful intrusion and burglary with locked gates and unbreachable walls. It must install a security system outfitted with alarms and video cameras linked to the MMCP. Surveillance must be done around the clock and footage must include the date and time the recording was taken. There should be a silent alarm and a panic alarm that are directly linked to law enforcement agencies.
Only authorized personnel must be allowed to enter any section of the facility that contains medical marijuana. OAC 3796:5-2-01 requires that visitors be allowed only on official business. They must present a valid government-issued photo ID, be issued a visitor pass, and be registered upon entry and departure. While in any area of the facility that contains medical cannabis, they must be escorted.
Before they can release any medical cannabis product for sale, licensed medical marijuana processing facilities are required by OAC 3796:3-2-06 to have an independent laboratory test random samples from each batch.
The packaging of all medical cannabis products, as mandated by OAC 3796:3-2-02, must be tamper-evident, light-resistant, and childproof. Every package must have a label attached, where the following information are legibly printed:
● The licensed processor’s name and license number
● The intended licensed dispensary’s name and license number
● The accredited testing laboratory’s name and license number
● The medical cannabis product name and form
● The medical cannabis product's cannabinoid profile
● The medical cannabis product’s unique lot number
● The method of extraction used for the medical cannabis content of the product
● The medical cannabis product’s dates of manufacture, testing, and packaging
● The medical cannabis product's expiration date, required to be within a year from manufacturing
● The medical cannabis product dose contained in the package
● The medical cannabis product’s total weight in grams
● The method of administration for the medical cannabis product
● The warnings required by the state of Ohio
● The following must be added for edible medical cannabis products:
○ The complete list of ingredients
○ Major food allergens present in the product
○ The warning required by the state on the delayed effects of ingested medical cannabis
Licensed medical marijuana processors are only permitted to sell the products they manufacture to other licensed medical marijuana processors and licensed medical marijuana dispensaries. They are not allowed to sell to patients and caregivers directly.
Yes, it is legal to sell cannabis by retail in Lake County but in compliance with Ohio’s Sub. H.B. 523, this is limited to medical cannabis and medical cannabis products sold by licensed dispensaries to patients and caregivers who are medical marijuana cardholders. Also, OAC 3796:2-2-07, and OAC 3796:3-2-07 only allow the sale of cannabis plant materials with not more than 35% THC content and medical cannabis products with not more than 70% THC content.
Every portion or dose of medical cannabis oils, tinctures, capsules, dissolving tablets, lozenges, sublingual films, sprays, patches, strips, salves, or edible products may not exceed 55 milligrams of THC in content according to OAC 3796:8-2-06. Also allowed for sale are cannabis plant materials such as buds, flowers, trim, shakes, and oils for vaporization as specified by OAC 3796.06. Furthermore, a request to sell medical marijuana devices may be submitted by a licensed dispensary. However, prohibited are medical cannabis and medical cannabis products intended to be used through combustion such as smoking, and any form of medical cannabis that may attract children.
Licensed medical cannabis dispensaries are only allowed by OAC 3796:6-3-08 to sell to registered patients 18 years old and up, and caregivers provided they have medical marijuana cards. They are also required to show another valid photo ID card issued by the government. The licensed medical cannabis dispensary is responsible for checking and validating these against the online Patient and Caregiver Registry.
At any given time, every patient is allowed by OAC 3796:7-2-04 to have a maximum of a 90-day supply of medical marijuana. The 90-day supply is specified by OAC 3796:8-2-04 as follows:
|Regular Patient||Patient with 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|
For every purchase, however, every patient is only allowed a 45-day supply in each 45-day period. Whenever there is a new recommendation, though, a 46-day supply may be purchased on the first fill. The licensed medical cannabis dispensary is responsible for ensuring that no patient exceeds these limits.
The licensing and regulation of medical cannabis dispensaries are under the purview of the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy. Applications were closed as of January 11, 2023, with 61 medical cannabis dispensary licenses issued across the state, two of which are in Lake County.
As set by OAC 3796:6-5-01, the non-refundable medical cannabis dispensary license application fee is $5,000. Once approved, a licensee pays the non-refundable $70,000 certificate of operation fee and then a non-refundable $70,000 biennial renewal fee. Every licensed medical marijuana dispensary cannot be less than 500 feet from the perimeter of a public park, public library, public playground, school, or church.
A licensed medical cannabis dispensary is required by OAC 3796:6-3-16 to maintain the highest security measures to protect the facility and its contents. Only dispensary personnel and individuals with the authority to purchase must be allowed entry. All doors must be locked, and security personnel must be employed to keep watch within business hours. In addition, there must be a security system equipped with motion detections, alarms, and 24-hour camera surveillance with archived footage stamped with recording dates and times. A panic alarm, holdup alarm, duress alarm, and automatic voice dialer must be installed, and these must directly connect to the law enforcement agency concerned.
The internal inventory tracking system of the licensed medical cannabis dispensary must integrate with Ohio’s medical cannabis inventory tracking system. The licensed dispensary must log every sale on these systems.
A licensed medical cannabis dispensary may be allowed to provide drive-through purchase services after submitting a site plan and a security plan to the Board of Pharmacy for approval. For this service, security measures need to be ramped up. For instance, bullet-resistant glass must be used, among other precautions.
The delivery of medical cannabis by licensed dispensaries even to patients or caregivers who are medical marijuana cardholders is prohibited in Ohio by OAC 3796:6-3-08. For medical cannabis to reach a patient who is unable to go to a licensed dispensary, a registered caregiver must make the purchase and take this to the patient.
The only transport of medical cannabis allowed in the state is among licensed medical cannabis cultivators, processors, and dispensaries.
To get a medical marijuana card in Lake County, a patient must find a physician with an active certificate to recommend (CTR) medical cannabis. Upon examining the patient, the physician will make a diagnosis on whether any of the qualifying medical conditions for the Medical Marijuana Program is present. These are:
● Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
● Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
● Alzheimer's disease
● Crohn's disease
● Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
● Seizure disorder
● Multiple sclerosis
● Hepatitis C
● Inflammatory bowel disease
● Positive HIV status
● Chronic, severe, or intractable pain
● Parkinson's disease
● Spinal cord disease or injury
● Post‐traumatic stress disorder
● Sickle cell anemia
● Ulcerative colitis
● Tourette's syndrome
● Traumatic brain injury
● Any condition or disease that the state medical board may add
The physician creates a profile for the qualifying patient and any needed caregiver in the Patient & Caregiver Registry where the physician’s recommendation is also uploaded. The physician will need the patient and caregiver to provide their respective valid state photo identification cards and email addresses. The patient and caregiver will then receive a registry activation email. They can then enter and complete their application, including the payment of the $50 patient registration fee or the $25 caregiver registration fee.
Individuals may qualify for the veteran or indigent discount of 50% provided the physician specifies that they are applying for this in the registry. The patient and caregiver are responsible for submitting the required documentary proof to the following:
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:
● ID Card issued by the Department of Defense
● Military Discharge Certificate from the National Guard Bureau, DD215, or DD214
● Separation Report from the National Archives National Personnel Records Center
● ID Card issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs
For those applying for indigent discount, the following must be submitted:
Proof of being a beneficiary of the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) programs
Proof of being a beneficiary of the State Retirement System with monthly disability benefits
The monthly benefits to be received from these programs during the year of registration with the Medical Marijuana Program
Approved patients and caregivers will receive their medical marijuana cards online in the registry, for downloading and printing.
Ohio is currently imposing on medical cannabis a 5.25% state sales tax and 0.25% to 2.25% local sales tax. This is the same as any other goods sold in the state. The MMCP’s January 10, 2023 program update reports that as of January 1st, medical marijuana sales have totaled $1.14 billion. Lake County is home to one medical cannabis cultivator licensee, one medical cannabis processor licensee, and two medical cannabis dispensary licensees. The county is, therefore, earning tax revenues from medical cannabis.
It was in 2016 when medical cannabis was legalized in the state of Ohio. While there is no data on county-wide arrests related to marijuana, according to data from the Mentor-on-the-Lake Police Department on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer page, in 2015 there were 9 arrests for marijuana possession. In 2021, that increased to 16 arrests for marijuana possession.
The Eastlake Police Department reports that in 2015 there were 30 arrests for marijuana possession. In 2020, this decreased to 24 arrests for marijuana possession and one arrest for marijuana sales/
According to the Madison Township Police Department, in 2020 there were 7 arrests for marijuana possession.
According to data from the Lake County Sheriff's Office on the same page, in 2015 there were 690 DUI arrests. In 2020, this decreased to 582.