On September 8, 2016, Ohio legalized the cultivation, processing and dispensing of medical marijuana within the state. Despite marijuana, in all forms, remaining illegal under federal law, Ohio is now one of twenty-nine (29) U.S. states with a legal medical marijuana program. Strict federal enforcement within the legal medical marijuana states is held at bay by a tenuous political compromise that gives safe harbor when state-sanctioned activities are strictly limited by a state’s regulations.
In the meantime, more states are joining the debate to legalize medical marijuana, and economic studies project that medical marijuana will quickly become a multibillion-dollar industry, creating thousands of new jobs in a few short years. On the other hand, legal medical marijuana production and use raises new and complex issues about marijuana’s effects on society, including the workplace or while driving.
The legal complexities of Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) start with Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Act and its regulatory scheme for cultivators, processors, dispensaries, medical doctors, caregivers and patients. It cuts across the interaction between federal and state laws, taxation, real estate, zoning, employment, environmental, health care and business law, to name but a few. Kegler Brown’s team of attorneys, with its depths of experience in the areas of business, government, regulatory, health care, real estate and more, are able to provide specialized, comprehensive counsel for the diverse issues facing this burgeoning industry.
The MMCP is intended to be fully operational no later than September 8, 2018 and has developed rules applicable to cultivators, processors, dispensaries, testing laboratories, physicians participating in the program, patients and caregivers. Our attorney team provides guidance throughout the entire application process, taking clients from concept to completion and assisting them with numerous related issues in areas such as security, land use, financing and more.
- Applications: assistance complying with the diverse requirements of a licensure application
- Regulations + Licensing: continued compliance issues, product testing, employee licensing, annual application maintenance, caregiver licensure
- Litigation: guidance pertaining to administrative hearings regarding licensure or related matters
- Corporate: developing best strategies for ownership of an applicant entity and organizing the applicant; assisting with transfer of ownership
- Employment Relations: workplace drug policies and training
- Real Estate: all aspects of site acquisition and leasing, zoning considerations and compliance concerns related to MMCP applications, including location restrictions
- Environmental: assisting with land development, permitting and zoning issues; advising clients on ways to reduce overall environmental impact, energy usage, carbon footprint and wastewater runoff.
- Administrative: responding to regulatory matters, appeals and hearings
- Intellectual Property: protection of IP within application; registration, defense and licensing focused on industry-specific technologies and processes, as well as marketing, advertising and branding needs
We assist entities and individuals, including cultivators, processors and dispensaries, through every aspect of the MMCP application process, from creating and developing their application to maintaining compliance after submission. Every client associated with the MMCP, from licensed physicians, landlords involved with program-affiliated leaseholders, local municipalities and more, has unique questions and needs, which is why we’ve established a multitalented team to take on every specific legal challenge and find versatile solutions to them.
We realize the MMCP is a controversial program and many individuals, organizations or municipalities may have questions about its purpose, process and benefits. Therefore, this section is intended to present resources to assist those interested with learning more about the MMCP.