Effective September 8, 2016, licensed cannabis cultivation has been legal in Licking County but only for medical purposes by virtue of the State of Ohio’s enacted Substitute House Bill (Sub. H.B.) 523. Licensed medical cannabis cultivators are further limited by Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3796:2-2-07 to the growing selling of cannabis plants containing not more than 35% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to licensed medical cannabis manufacturers and dispensaries.
Municipalities and townships within counties are allowed by Sec. 3796.29 of the Act to completely ban or limit the number of medical cannabis facilities inside their territories.
A medical cannabis cultivation facility in Licking County must apply to the Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) under the Ohio Department of Commerce to acquire either a Level I or Level II medical marijuana cultivator license. The MMCP is the regulatory and licensing authority for medical cannabis.
The Level I medical cannabis cultivator license allows the holder to have a maximum cannabis crop canopy of 25,000 square feet. The Level II medical cannabis cultivator license allows the holder to have only a maximum of 3,000 square feet, but approval for expansion may be sought once that limit is reached.
The MMCP has issued, as of April 11, 2023, a total of 32 cultivator licenses throughout the state, with 20 of them Level I. Two of those Level I medical cannabis cultivation licensees are in Licking County, one in Buckeye Lake and the other in Johnstown.
During the application process, company owners and employees must pass a criminal background check. Application and licensing fees are as follows:
|Medical Cannabis Cultivation Facility||License Application Fee||Initial License Fee||Annual License Renewal Fee|
There is a location requirement for a licensed medical cannabis cultivation facility to be over 500 feet from a school, library, playground, park, or any place of worship. OAC 3796:2-2-05 requires the licensed cultivation facility to have tight security which entails full enclosure by a fence with a gate locked by commercial-grade mechanisms. There must be adequate lighting along the perimeter. A security system connected to local law enforcement authorities and the MMCP must work continuously and be armed with alarms and recorded camera surveillance. The footage must be dated and time-stamped and be kept for not less than 45 days. Entry must be restricted to authorized personnel only.
According to OAC 3796:4-2-04, medical cannabis cultivator licensees must have random samples of dried and cured cannabis from every crop batch tested by a laboratory approved by the MMCP. The licensed cultivator must wait until the results have been posted to the online Ohio Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting & Compliance (METRC) system before it can sell any portion of the medical cannabis crop that was tested.
Only licensed medical cannabis product manufacturing is legal in Licking County and only if allowed by the municipality or township, as mandated by the enacted Sub. H.B. 523 of the State of Ohio. Licensed medical cannabis manufacturers are further limited by OAC 3796:3-2-07 to process only medical cannabis products containing not more than 70% THC.
A medical cannabis manufacturing facility in Licking County must apply to the MMCP to obtain a medical marijuana processor license. The requirements for application, restrictions on location, and regulations are the same as those for medical marijuana cultivator licenses. However, the fees differ, with those for medical cannabis manufacturing as follows:
|Medical Cannabis Manufacturing Facility|
|License Application Fee||$10,000|
|Initial License Fee||$90,000|
|Annual License Renewal Fee||$100,000|
The MMCP has issued, as of December 21, 2022, a total of 44 processor licenses statewide, with three in Licking County. Two of those are in Johnstown and one is in Buckeye Lake.
The strict security measures that OAC 3796:3-2-05 requires of licensed medical cannabis manufacturers are the same as those required for licensed medical cannabis cultivators. As an additional precaution, OAC 3796:5-2-01 mandates that any authorized guest must present a valid photo ID issued by the government and must be logged in and out of the facility. Throughout the period of the visit, the guest must always be accompanied by facility personnel.
According to OAC 3796:3-2-06, licensed medical cannabis processors must have random samples from every batch of manufactured medical cannabis products in the same process as that for licensed medical cannabis cultivators. Processor licensees may also not sell any portion of a batch of medical cannabis products to a licensed retailer until after test results are submitted to the METRC system. OAC 3796:3-2-02 mandates that all medical cannabis products be in childproof, tamper-evident, and light-resistant packaging and that all requirements it specifies for the labeling of medical cannabis products be strictly observed.
Only licensed medical cannabis dispensaries are allowed to sell medical cannabis and medical cannabis products solely to medical cannabis cardholders in Licking County provided it is allowed by the municipality or township as stipulated by the State of Ohio’s enacted Sub. H.B. 523. Furthermore, OAC 3796:2-2-07 only allows the selling of medical cannabis with a maximum THC content of 35%, and OAC 3796:3-2-07 only allows the selling of medical cannabis products with a maximum THC content of 70%.
A medical cannabis dispensary in Licking County must apply to the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy to obtain a medical marijuana dispensary license. As of April 25, 2023, 77 dispensary licenses have been issued across the state, with three of them in Newark, Licking County.
OAC 3796:6-5-01 cites the following fees for medical cannabis dispensaries:
|Medical Cannabis Dispensary|
|License Application Fee||$5,000|
|Initial License Fee||$70,000|
|Biennial License Renewal Fee||$70,000|
OAC 3796:6-2-02, OAC 3796:6-2-07, and OAC 3796:6-3-16 apply the same requirements for application, location limitations, and security measures to medical cannabis dispensaries as medical cannabis cultivators and manufacturers. However, for licensed medical cannabis dispensaries, medical cannabis cardholders are allowed entry. Also, security guards must be present throughout the operating hours of the licensed medical cannabis dispensary.
For drive-through purchase services, additional approval must be sought from the Board of Pharmacy. The licensed dispensary must also heighten security measures. For instance, the use of bullet-resistant glass will be required.
Cannabis flowers and buds
Cannabis trim and shakes
The licensed medical cannabis dispensary is mandated by OAC 3796:6-3-08 to require every purchaser to present a valid medical cannabis card and another valid government-issued photo ID. These will be used to validate the purchaser’s identity and verify qualification for purchase on the MMCP’s online Patient and Caregiver Registry. The licensed dispensary must then record each sale in its inventory system that connects to the MMCP medical cannabis database.
OAC 3796:7-2-04 states that a licensed medical cannabis dispensary is only permitted to sell to a medical cannabis cardholder every 90 days a 90-day supply of medical cannabis in two equal transactions. The initial purchase may be for a 46-day supply only if the physician’s recommendation is newly-released.
OAC 3796:8-2-04 differentiates the 90-day supply for regular medical cannabis cardholders and terminally ill medical cannabis cardholders as follows:
|Regular Medical Cannabis Cardholders||Terminally Ill Medical Cannabis Cardholders|
|Cannabis Plant Parts||9 oz or 254.7 grams||10 oz or 283.5 grams|
|Ointments, Lotions, Creams, Transdermal Patches||26.55 grams of THC||29.5 grams of THC|
|Tinctures, Oils, Capsules, 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|
It is not legal to deliver cannabis, even medical cannabis and medical cannabis products to medical cannabis cardholders, in Licking County and the rest of the State of Ohio in accordance with OAC 3796:6-3-08. It is only legal to deliver medical cannabis and medical cannabis products from one licensed medical cannabis facility to another.
To apply for an MMCP medical cannabis card, residents of Licking County must first be diagnosed to have any of the qualifying medical conditions listed below by a physician with a certification to recommend (CTR) medical cannabis treatment issued by the State Medical Board of Ohio. Those medical conditions are:
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Inflammatory bowel disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Chronic, severe, or intractable pain
Spinal cord disease or injury
Inflammatory bowel disease
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
Positive HIV status
Traumatic brain injury
Post‐traumatic stress disorder
Sickle cell anemia
Any addition from the State Medical Board
The doctor will certify the diagnosis through the physician’s recommendation. This will be uploaded by the physician on the online Patient & Caregiver Registry by creating an account for the patient and posting the patient’s email address. If the patient requires a caregiver, the physician will also create an account for the caregiver and post the caregiver’s email address. A valid government-issued photo ID must be presented by both the patient and the caregiver to the physician to prove their identities.
An email will be sent to the patient and caregiver separately, through which they can access their registry accounts and complete their individual applications. Patients must pay $50 while caregivers must pay $25. A [50% discount for veteran or indigent patients or caregivers](https://medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/Documents/PatientsCaregivers/Quick Reference Guide - Registering With Indigent Or Veteran Status.pdf) may be applied for by sending the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy the required documented proof by mail at:
State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy
MMCP Patient Registry
77. S. High Street, 17th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
When approved, the card will be shown on the patient’s and caregiver’s respective online registry accounts [for downloading and 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.). They may use the electronic or printed medical cannabis card at a licensed dispensary, always along with another valid government-issued photo ID.
The Drug Enforcement and Policy Center of the Moritz College of Law at the Ohio State University reports that under the existing medical cannabis program, purchases of medical cannabis are taxed with the usual 5.25% state sales tax plus local taxes that could range from 0.25% to 2.25%. The licensed medical cannabis dispensary can pass on the tax to the purchasing medical cannabis cardholder.
The earliest entry on the historical sales data of the MMCP shows that as of April 30, 2019, total sales of medical cannabis products were at $5.2 million. As of April 23, 2023, total sales of medical cannabis products had reached more than $1.28 billion.
Medical cannabis was legalized in 2016 in Licking County.
In 2017, the year after the legalization of medical cannabis, there was also no marijuana offense arrest.
In 2020, which is the latest available data, there was still no marijuana offense arrest.
The number of DUI arrests was as follows in those years:
2015: 29 arrests
2017: 44 arrests
2020: 16 arrests