Cannabis cultivation is legal in Warren County but only for medical use as stipulated by the 2016 Substitute House Bill (Sub. H.B.) 523 of Ohio. Also, the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) 3796:2-2-07 states that only cannabis plants with a maximum tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of 35% are allowed.
Companies that intend to cultivate medical cannabis are required to apply with the Ohio Department of Commerce for a medical marijuana cultivator license. The Department is the regulatory body for medical cannabis cultivation under the Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) of the state.
Companies may apply for a Level I or Level II medical marijuana cultivator license. With a Level I license, the holder may have a cultivation area with a maximum size of 25,000 square feet. With a Level II license, on the other hand, the holder may have a cultivation area with a maximum size of only 3,000 square feet. Once the limit has been reached, however, the license holder can apply to have their cultivation area expanded.
The applications for Level II cultivator licenses were opened from June 5 to 16, 2017, while those for Level I cultivator licenses were opened from June 19 to 30 the same year. The MCCP has granted 33 cultivator licenses statewide as of January 2023, of which 19 were Level I and 14 were Level II.
Company owners who are applying for a medical marijuana cultivator license and their employees are required to pass a criminal background check. The location of the medical marijuana cultivation facility to be licensed must be 500 feet or more away from a school, church, public park, public playground, or public library.
Medical marijuana cultivator license applicants and 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|
A medical marijuana cultivator licensee is required by OAC 3796:4-2-04 to take a random sample from every batch of cannabis it cultivates and harvests and have this tested by an accredited independent laboratory. OAC 3796:1-1-01 defines a batch of cannabis plants as being of one variety grown and harvested at the same time and in the same conditions. One batch must not weigh more than 15 pounds of only dried flowers and buds or not more than 25 pounds of plant materials, excluding flowers and buds. Until the test results of a batch are sent to the Ohio Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting & Compliance (METRC) online system, the licensed medical marijuana cultivator is not allowed to release the cannabis plants.
The medical marijuana cultivator license authorizes the holder to sell medical cannabis plants and plant materials only to licensed medical marijuana cultivators, processors, and dispensaries, but not to patients and caregivers.
Cannabis manufacturing is legal in Warren County but only for the processing of medical cannabis products as mandated by Ohio’s Sub. H.B. 523. OAC 3796:3-2-07 further stipulates that the medical cannabis products to be manufactured must have a THC content of not more than 70%.
The MCCP requires companies that intend to manufacture medical cannabis to apply for a medical marijuana processor license from the Ohio Department of Commerce, which is also the regulatory body for medical cannabis manufacturing.
Company owners applying for a medical marijuana processor license and their personnel must go through a criminal background check. The site of the medical marijuana processing facility for licensing must be 500 feet or more from a public playground, public park, public library, church, or school.
Medical marijuana processor license applicants and licensees must pay the non-refundable application fee of $10,000, certificate of operation fee of $90,000, and annual processor license renewal fee of $100,000.
Applications for medical marijuana processor licenses closed as early as September 2018. As of January 2023, the MMCP has granted two provisional licenses and 44 certificates of operation statewide. None of these are located in Warren County.
A licensed medical cannabis processing facility must be protected against unauthorized entry and theft by locked gates and impenetrable walls, according to OAC 3796:3-2-05. It is necessary for it to set up a security system with video camera surveillance and alarms that are connected to the MMCP. Monitoring must be conducted continuously, and the video must include the date and time of recording. A silent alarm and a panic alarm should be installed, both of which should connect directly to law enforcement agencies.
Any area of the facility containing medicinal marijuana must only be accessible to authorized staff. Guests are only permitted on official business, according to OAC 3796:5-2-01. They are required to register upon arrival and departure, show a valid government-issued picture ID, and get visitor passes. They must be accompanied when in any section of the facility where medicinal cannabis is present.
OAC 3796:3-2-06 requires licensed medical marijuana processing facilities to have an accredited independent laboratory analyze random samples from each batch before releasing any medical cannabis products for sale.
All medicinal cannabis products must be contained in tamper-evident, light-resistant, and childproof packaging, according to OAC 3796:3-2-02. Every parcel must have a label with the following information legibly written on it:
The name and license number of the licensed processor
The name and license number of the intended licensed dispensary
The name and license number of the accredited testing laboratory
The name and form of the medical cannabis product
The cannabinoid profile of the medical cannabis product
The unique lot number of the medical cannabis product
The extraction method used for the product’s medical cannabis content
The dates when the medical cannabis product was manufactured, tested, and packaged
The expiration date of the medical cannabis product, which must be within a year from the manufacturing
The dose of the medical cannabis product in the pack
The total weight in grams of the medical cannabis product
The method by which the medical cannabis product must be administered
Any warnings that the state of Ohio requires
Additional label requirements for edible medical cannabis products:
The complete ingredient list
Any major food allergens in the product
The specific warnings that the state requires on the delayed effects of medical cannabis if ingested
The medical marijuana processor license authorizes the holder to sell the medical marijuana products it produces only to other licensed medical marijuana processors and dispensaries, but not to patients and caregivers.
The retail sale of cannabis is legal in Warren County, but Ohio’s Sub. H.B. 523 mandates that only medical cannabis and medical cannabis products are allowed to be sold to patients and caregivers who are medical marijuana cardholders by licensed dispensaries. Furthermore, cannabis plant materials can only have a maximum content of 35% THC, while medical cannabis products can only have a maximum content of 70% THC, according to OAC 3796:2-2-07 and OAC 3796:3-2-07.
OAC 3796:8-2-06 allows the sale of medical cannabis tinctures, oils, capsules, lozenges, dissolving tablets, sublingual films, edible products, sprays, strips, patches, or salves, provided that each dose or portion’s THC content is not more than 55 milligrams. OAC 3796.06 further allows licensed dispensaries to sell oils for vaporization in addition to cannabis plant materials like buds, flowers, shakes, and trim. A licensed dispensary may also submit a request to sell medical marijuana devices. However, dispensaries are not allowed to sell medical cannabis and medical cannabis products in any form that is appealing to children or is intended for smoking or combustion.
OAC 3796:6-3-08 states that licensed medical cannabis dispensaries can only sell to registered patients aged 18 and older and caregivers, all of whom need to have a medical marijuana card accompanied by another valid government-issued photo ID card for identity and age verification. It is the responsibility of the licensed medical cannabis dispensary to check these cards for validation in the Patient and Caregiver Registry online.
|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|
The 90-day supply of medical cannabis must be purchased in two fills, with a 45-day supply per transaction. The exception is the first fill of a new physician’s recommendation when a purchase for a 46-day supply is allowed. It is the responsibility of the licensed medical cannabis dispensary to ensure that a patient does not exceed the limit.
The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy is the licensing and regulatory body for medical cannabis dispensaries. As of January 11, 2023, with applications closed, 61 medical cannabis dispensary licenses have been granted statewide, one of which is located in Warren County.
According to OAC 3796:6-5-01, medical cannabis dispensary license applicants must pay the non-refundable application fee of $5,000. Licensees must pay the non-refundable certificate of operation fee of $70,000 and the non-refundable biennial renewal fee of also $70,000. The medical marijuana dispensary for licensing must be located at least 500 feet away from a school, church, public playground, public library, or public park.
OAC 3796:6-3-16 requires a licensed medical cannabis dispensary to implement the tightest security procedures to safeguard the facility and its inventory. Entry should be restricted to authorized purchasers and employees of the dispensary. Security staff must be hired to maintain watch during business hours, and all doors must be secured. Also required is a security system armed with motion sensors, alarms, and 24/7 video monitoring. Archived recordings must be marked with capture dates and times. The installation of a panic alarm, holdup alarm, duress alarm, and automatic voice dialer with direct connections to the relevant law enforcement agency is mandatory.
The licensed medical cannabis dispensary's internal inventory tracking system must be integrated with the state's medical cannabis inventory monitoring system. Every sale must be recorded on these systems by the licensed dispensary.
After submitting a site design and a security plan to the Board of Pharmacy for approval, a licensed medical cannabis dispensary may be permitted to provide drive-through purchase services. Security measures must be strengthened for this service. Bullet-resistant glass, for example, must be utilized, among other safeguards.
The delivery of medical cannabis is prohibited in Warren County by Ohio’s OAC 3796:6-3-08. Even licensed dispensaries are not allowed to deliver purchases to medical marijuana card-holding patients or caregivers. A caregiver must go to a dispensary to purchase medical cannabis for a patient who cannot do so, and then bring it to the patient.
The only legal transportation of medical cannabis is between licensed cultivators, processors, and dispensaries.
Residents of Warren County can get a medical marijuana card by first choosing a doctor with an active certificate to recommend (CTR) medical cannabis. Through an in-person medical examination, the doctor will determine if the patient has any of the following qualifying medical conditions to join the Medical Marijuana Program:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Inflammatory bowel disease
Positive HIV status
Chronic, severe, or intractable pain
Spinal cord disease or injury
Sickle cell anemia
Post‐traumatic stress disorder
Traumatic brain injury
Any condition or disease that the state medical board adds
If the patient qualifies, the doctor will create a profile in the Patient & Caregiver Registry and upload the recommendation for medical marijuana treatment. If the patient needs a caregiver, the doctor will indicate so. Both the patient and the caregiver must present to the doctor their respective email addresses and valid government-issued photo ID cards.
A registry activation email will be sent to the patient and caregiver. They must activate their respective accounts, complete their applications, and pay the patient registration fee of $50 or the caregiver registration fee of $25.
Patients and caregivers who are veterans or are classified as indigent can get a 50% discount on the fees. The doctor must specify in their profile that they are applying for such a discount. They must then submit the required documentation through any of these channels:
Mail: State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy
MMCP Patient Registry
77. S. High Street, 17th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Veterans should submit the following:
ID from the Department of Defense
National Guard Bureau Military Discharge Certificate, DD215, or DD214
National Archives National Personnel Records Center Separation Report
ID from the Department of Veterans Affairs
Individuals seeking the discount for indigent status must submit the following:
Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) beneficiary documentation
Ohio State Retirement System monthly disability beneficiary documentation
Monthly benefits from the said programs during the year of registration with the Medical Marijuana Program
Medical marijuana cards will be sent online to patients and caregivers for downloading and printing once approved.
Medical cannabis in Ohio is taxed just like any other goods with a 5.25% state sales tax and 0.25% to 2.25% local sales tax. According to the January 10, 2023 program update of the MMCP, sales of medical cannabis as of January 1 have reached $1.14 billion. With one licensed medical cannabis dispensary in Warren County, it is earning a share of these revenues.
Medical cannabis was legalized in 2016 in Ohio, including Warren County. According to data from the Warren County Sheriff's Office on the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer page, there were 138 local arrests related to marijuana in 2015, of which 131 were for marijuana possession, and seven were for marijuana manufacturing or sales. This decreased to 90 local arrests related to marijuana in 2019, the latest available data, of which 80 were for marijuana possession, and 10 were for marijuana manufacturing or sales.
There were 54 DUI arrests in 2015. This increased to 75 in 2019.