State universities in Ohio are the only places where Ohio’s medical marijuana can be tested by state rules. Ohio has had a real tough time with implementing legalized medical marijuana, but then again a lot of other states have struggled through the process as well. However, Ohio has a unique problem in that lab testing of medical marijuana is mandated by the state but the collegiate institutions assigned with the duty of testing are refusing to do it in fear of losing federal funding. Marijuana in any form is illegal nationally.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Ohio’s fledgling medical marijuana program ramps up, patients, business owners and advocates still have one major concern — who will test the marijuana?
All medical marijuana products must be tested for safety and potency before sale, per state law. But for the first year, testing lab licenses are limited to public colleges.
So far, not one university has said it will test marijuana, which is still an illegal federal substance, because of concerns about jeopardizing federal funding. That has some worried that patients won’t be able to buy medical marijuana before the Sept. 8, 2018 deadline for the program to be operational.
Some state lawmakers wanted to fix the law in the two-year budget bill that cleared the General Assembly two weeks ago. But an amendment that would have scrapped the university requirement didn’t make it into the bill.
Sen. Bill Coley, a Liberty Township Republican who drafted the amendment, said legislators are aware of the problem.
“None of the state universities has stepped up and said they want to do that yet,” Coley said.
Coley said he plans to bring up the issue after lawmakers return from summer recess.
“If in fact, over the summer, one steps up that will be OK,” Coley said. “But if not we’ll probably address it in the fall.”
Meanwhile, the Ohio Department of Commerce, the state agency overseeing testing labs, isn’t concerned. The testing lab restriction expires on the date applications for licenses are first accepted.
The department reads that part of the law to mean one year from when any marijuana business license application is accepted, not just testing labs, spokeswoman Kerry Francis said.