Yes, cannabis cultivation is legal in Mahoning County but only for medical use as stipulated by Ohio’s Substitute House Bill (Sub. H.B.) 523, which was signed as law on June 8, 2016. Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3796:2-2-07 further limits this to cannabis plants with a maximum of 35% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content.
In Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP), companies that intend to cultivate medical cannabis must apply for a medical marijuana cultivator license with the Ohio Department of Commerce, which is also the regulatory body for medical cannabis cultivation.
Level I cultivator licenses authorize the cultivation of up to 25,000 square feet while Level II cultivator licenses authorize the cultivation of up to 3,000 square feet. The licensees may later apply for an expansion of their areas. Applications for Level I cultivator licenses were open from June 19 to 30, 2017 while applications for Level II cultivator licenses were open from June 5 to 16, 2017. As of January 2023, 33 cultivator licenses have been issued statewide, of which 19 are Level I and 14 are Level II. One Level I cultivator licensee is in Mahoning County.
Medical marijuana cultivator licensees and their employees are required to undergo and pass criminal background checks. A licensed medical marijuana cultivation facility must be at least 500 feet away from the perimeter of a school, public playground, public library, public park, or church.
Medical marijuana cultivator licensees must pay the following non-refundable fees:
|Level I||Level II|
|Initial License Fee||$180,000||$18,000|
|Annual License Renewal Fee||$200,000||$20,000|
Licensed medical marijuana cultivators are required by OAC 3796:4-2-04 to have random samples of each batch of cannabis plants tested by an independent laboratory. OAC 3796:1-1-01 defines a batch as medical cannabis of the same variety that was grown and harvested under the same conditions and comprising a maximum of 15 pounds of dried flowers or buds or 25 pounds of plant material that does not include flowers or buds. Licensed cultivators may not release any batch of cannabis until after test results have been posted on the Ohio Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting & Compliance (METRC) platform.
Licensed medical marijuana cultivators are prohibited from selling medical cannabis directly to patients and caregivers. They may only sell to other licensed medical marijuana cultivators, licensed medical marijuana processors, and licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.
Yes, cannabis manufacturing is legal in Mahoning County but only for medical use in compliance with Ohio’s Sub. H.B. 523. OAC 3796:3-2-07 further limits this to the manufacturing of medical cannabis products with a maximum of 70% THC content.
According to the MMCP, companies that intend to manufacture medical cannabis must apply for a medical marijuana processor license with the Ohio Department of Commerce. This is also the regulatory body for medical cannabis manufacturing.
Medical marijuana processor licensees and their employees must undergo and pass criminal background checks. A licensed medical marijuana processing facility must be 500 feet away from the boundary of a school, church, public library, public playground, or public park, at the minimum.
Applicants must pay the non-refundable application fee of $10,000. Licensees must pay the non-refundable certificate of operation fee of $90,000 and the annual processor license renewal fee of $100,000.
Applications for medical marijuana processor licenses closed on September 9, 2018. As of January 2023, there have been 44 certificate of operation licenses and two provisional licenses issued statewide. Two of the certificate of operation licenses are in Mahoning County.
OAC 3796:3-2-05 requires licensed medical marijuana processing facilities to be secured against unauthorized entry and theft by locked physical fences and gates as well as a security system equipped with alarms and surveillance cameras connected to the MMCP. Surveillance recording must be continuous and include the date and time the footage was taken. A panic alarm and a silent alarm must be installed, both connected to law enforcement agencies.
Entry to all areas that contain medical marijuana must be restricted to authorized personnel. In accordance with OAC 3796:5-2-01, visitors on official business must provide valid government-issued photo IDs, be logged in and out, and be accompanied at all times when in areas of the facility that contain medical cannabis.
OAC 3796:3-2-06 requires licensed medical marijuana processing facilities to have samples of all medical cannabis products tested by an independent laboratory before these are released for sale. OAC 3796:3-2-02 requires that all medical cannabis product packaging be light-resistant, tamper-evident, and childproof. Each one must be labeled legibly with the following information:
The name and license number of the processor
The name and license number of the dispensary that will be selling the product
The name and license number of the independent testing laboratory that tested the product
The name, form, and dose of the medical cannabis product as registered with the MMCP
The unique lot number of the medical cannabis product
The dates when the medical cannabis product was manufactured, tested, and packaged
The total weight of the medical cannabis product contained in the package, in grams
The medical cannabis product's cannabinoid profile
The medical cannabis product's expiration date, which must not be more than one year from its manufacturing date
Any extraction process used
The medical cannabis product's intended method of administration
Specific warnings as worded by the state
For edible medical cannabis, the following must be included:
The complete ingredient list
Any major food allergens in the product
A warning that effects of medical cannabis may be delayed when ingested,using the exact wording required by the state
Licensed medical marijuana processors are prohibited from selling medical cannabis directly to patients and caregivers. They may only sell to other licensed medical marijuana processors and licensed medical marijuana dispensaries.
Yes, cannabis retail is legal in Mahoning County but only for medical cannabis flowers, buds, or plant materials with a maximum of 35% THC content and medical cannabis products with a maximum of 70% THC content to comply with Ohio’s Sub. H.B. 523, OAC 3796:2-2-07, and OAC 3796:3-2-07.
OAC 3796:8-2-06 specifies that a maximum of 55 milligrams of THC may be in every dose or portion of capsules, sublingual films, lozenges, dissolving tablets, edible medical cannabis forms, tinctures, oils, sprays, strips, patches, or salves. OAC 3796.06 states that licensed dispensaries may also sell oils for vaporization in addition to cannabis flowers, buds, and other plant materials.
Licensed dispensaries may also submit a request to sell medical marijuana devices. Medical cannabis and medical cannabis products intended for smoking or any form of combustion are forbidden, as are forms of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products that may be appealing to children.
OAC 3796:6-3-08 stipulates that medical cannabis can only be sold to qualified patients aged 18 and above or registered caregivers, all of whom must be medical marijuana cardholders. They must also present an additional valid government-issued photo ID card. It is the responsibility of the licensed medical cannabis dispensary to check these against the state’s online medical marijuana registry.
OAC 3796:7-2-04 allows each patient to possess only up to a 90-day supply of medical cannabis at a time. OAC 3796:8-2-04 identifies a 90-day supply as any of the following:
|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|
Each patient is permitted to purchase a 45-day supply of medical cannabis every 45 days. However, for the first fill of a new recommendation, a 46-day supply is allowed. It is the responsibility of the licensed medical cannabis dispensary to ensure that these limits are not exceeded.
The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy is the licensing and regulatory authority for medical cannabis dispensaries. As of January 11, 2023, applications were closed but there were 61 medical cannabis dispensary license holders statewide. One of these is located in Mahoning County.
OAC 3796:6-5-01 sets the application fee for a medical cannabis dispensary license at $5,000. The licensee must also pay the certificate of operation fee of $70,000 and a biennial renewal fee which is also $70,000. A licensed medical marijuana dispensary must be located 500 feet or more from the boundary of a church, school, public playground, public library, or public park.
OAC 3796:6-3-16 requires each licensed medical cannabis dispensary to ensure the security of its premises and goods. Entryways must be locked and entry must be restricted to dispensary personnel and those authorized to make a purchase. There must be security personnel on the site during business hours in addition to a security system that has motion detectors, alarms, and continuous video surveillance with footage archiving. There must be a duress alarm, panic alarm, holdup alarm, and automatic voice dialer, all connected to a law enforcement agency.
Each licensed medical cannabis dispensary is required to maintain an internal inventory tracking system that is compatible and integrated with the state’s inventory tracking system. Every sale must be logged into both systems.
Drive-through purchase is allowed for licensed medical cannabis dispensaries but this requires the submission to the Board of Pharmacy of a site plan and a security plan for approval. Heightened security measures are necessary, including the use of bullet-resistant glass.
OAC 3796:6-3-08 prohibits the delivery of medical marijuana by licensed dispensaries to patients — even those with medical marijuana cards, or caregivers in Ohio. If the patient cannot go to the dispensary, a caregiver must purchase the medical cannabis and take this to the patient.
Only licensed medical cannabis cultivators, processors, and dispensaries are allowed to transport medical cannabis to each other.
The first step a patient must do to get a medical marijuana card in Mahoning County is to locate a doctor with an active certificate to recommend (CTR) medical marijuana. The doctor will examine the patient and determine if the patient has any of the following medical conditions that qualify for the Medical Marijuana Program:
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Inflammatory bowel disease
Chronic, severe, or intractable pain
Positive HIV status
Post‐traumatic stress disorder
Spinal cord disease or injury
Sickle cell anemia
Traumatic brain injury
Any other disease or condition that may be added by the state medical board
If the patient qualifies, the doctor will create a profile in the Patient & Caregiver Registry and submit the recommendation directly. If the patient needs a caregiver, the doctor will create such a profile, as well. The patient and caregiver must provide the doctor with a valid state identification card, such as a current Ohio driver’s license, and their respective email addresses. A registry activation email will be sent to them providing log-in details. They must enter the registry, complete their application and pay the patient registration fee of $50 or the caregiver registration fee of $25.
Patients or caregivers who are veterans or indigent qualify for a 50% reduction in the fee. The doctor must indicate this in the registry and the patient or caregiver must submit proof by email to MMCPRegistry@pharmacy.ohio.gov or by mail to the:
State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy
MMCP Patient Registry
77. S. High Street, 17th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Veterans must send any of the following:
Department of Defense ID Card
National Guard Bureau military discharge certificate, DD215, or DD214
National Archives National Personnel Records Center Separation Report
Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Identification Card
To qualify for indigent status, the patient or caregiver must:
Be a beneficiary of the federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) programs
Be a beneficiary of the State Retirement System with monthly disability benefits
For either category, they must:
Submit the amount of the benefits they will receive monthly during the year of registering with the Medical Marijuana Program
Once approved, the medical marijuana card will be available in the registry for the patient or caregiver to download and print out.
Currently, medical cannabis in Ohio is subject to the same 5.25% state sales tax and 0.25% to 2.25% local sales tax imposed on all other goods. According to the January 10, 2023 program update of the MMCP, sales of medical marijuana as of January 1 had reached $1.14 billion. Tax revenue from those sales will benefit not only the state but also Mahoning County, given that the county has one medical marijuana cultivator licensee, two medical marijuana processor licensees, and one medical marijuana dispensary licensee.
Medical cannabis was legalized in Ohio in 2016. According to data from the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer page, in 2015, there were three arrests for marijuana possession and nine for marijuana manufacturing or sales. In 2020, there were no arrests for marijuana possession and the number of arrests for marijuana manufacturing or sales decreased to three.
There were 150 DUI arrests in 2015. This decreased to eight in 2020.