Ohio regulators propose eliminating annual patient fees, reducing processor fees

Medical marijuana patients and their caregivers currently pay annual fees of $50 and $25, respectively, to be registered with the state.

“Eliminating the patient and caregiver registration fees is a strong move from the new Division of Cannabis Control and illustrates a clear dedication to improving the medical marijuana program for Ohio’s patients,” Matt Close, executive director of the Ohio Cannabis Coalition (OHCANN), which represents the medical and recreational cannabis operators in Ohio, previously told Crain’s.

“Removing barriers to patient access is the best way to create an environment where both the medical and adult use marijuana programs can thrive and to combat the illicit market,” Close added. “We applaud the Division for proactively proposing this patient-focused change less than a month into their new role regulating patients, caregivers, and dispensaries. We encourage medical patients to renew their medical marijuana cards because it is likely adult use marijuana won’t be available until later this year.”

As far as processor renewal fees, which apply to cannabis companies that make manufactured products ranging from oils and concentrates to foodstuffs, the agency proposes cutting those in half from $100,000 to $50,000.

In a corresponding business impact analysis, it noted that while fees like these are necessary to cover administrative costs of the program, the DCC suggests it will continue to have funds to cover program costs while “providing a more equitable fee schedule” and bringing those more in line with other facility fees.

With respect to provisional employee badges, DCC proposes permitting these to help operators more readily hire needed staff.

Currently, marijuana industry workers must pass background checks before they can be officially employed, a process that can take up to 60 days. Industry stakeholders have reported that the amount of time required to hire has led to the “loss of good, qualified candidates—resulting in increased recruiting and hiring costs for licensees.”

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