How Cannabis is Regulated and Tested for Safety in Ohio
Cannabis is becoming decriminalized all across the country. In fact, as of 2023, 37 states, along with Washington D.C., have legalized the use of medical marijuana. And, a total of 19 states, plus D.C., have fully legalized marijuana–which covers recreational or “adult-use” as well. This number is also about to increase with the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Ohio as well.
Just like legalization, regulations for cannabis are also determined at the state level. This includes mandates around purchase limits, who qualifies for the use of medical marijuana, testing procedures, and more. But, at the federal level, a separate set of rules also exist and according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) marijuana is still considered an illegal substance. Understandably, this not only causes clashes between the federal and state entities, but also a great deal of confusion for marijuana businesses and consumers.
In this blog, we’ll break it down by talking through the cannabis regulations currently in place in Ohio, and additionally how marijuana is tested within the state in order to keep local medical marijuana patients safe.
Cannabis Regulations in Ohio – The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program
Despite stringent federal regulations, Ohio legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2016 through the passage of House Bill 523 approved by the Ohio General Assembly.
This is possible because the federal budget includes “provisions to protect states’ rights to responsibly regulate medical cannabis programs”, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, signed into law in 2014, additionally prohibits the Justice Department from allocating funds towards interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws. And, the House of Representatives has voted multiple times to stop medical cannabis crackdown.
On November 7th, 2023, Ohioans additionally voted to legalize recreational marijuana. A decision which will have an effect on some of the following cannabis regulation information.
Since the original legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio, rules and regulations around the substance have been set by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. The program lists out 28 different medical conditions which qualify patients to participate and receive a Medical Marijuana Card from a licensed healthcare provider. Qualifying conditions include things like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anemia, post traumatic stress disorder, and tourette syndrome.
The program also lays out specific supply limits which includes minimum purchase quantities and maximum quantities purchased within a 90-day period, which is split into two 45-day fill periods. Purchase limits are broken down by dry flower, topicals, edibles and tinctures, and vaporization oils.
For example, here are the current 90-day supply limits, as defined by the Ohio Administrative Code:
- Dry Flower: 9 oz. (254.7 g) of plant material
- Topicals: 26.55g of THC content in patches, lotions, creams, or ointments
- Edibles & Tinctures: 9.9g of THC content in oil, tincture, capsule, or edible form for oral administration
- Vaporization Oils: 53.1g of THC content in medical marijuana oil for vaporization.
*Note: These limits are set higher for patients diagnosed with a terminal illness.
It’s also important to note that Ohio does not currently allow the smoking of cannabis.
The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program also spells out rules and regulations for cannabis cultivators, processors, and dispensaries. All of these businesses are required to apply through the Ohio Department of Commerce and are additionally regulated by the Ohio State Pharmacy Board and State Medical Board. The program also specifies the requirement for cannabis testing facilities within the state, which are licensed and regulated through the Ohio Department of Commerce, as well.
Cannabis Testing in Ohio
Every single batch of medical marijuana product must be sampled and tested in Ohio before being sold to dispensaries like Terrasana. This ensures that the product is not only free of contaminants and safe for consumption, but also that it contains the ingredients and level of cannabinoids it claims to.
The process of testing is as follows, laid out by the Ohio Department of Commerce: “A testing laboratory staff member travels to a cultivator or processor to obtain a random sample of medical marijuana and then returns to the lab to analyze the sample for contaminants and for cannabinoid quantities or ‘potency.’
Once testing is finished, the laboratories are then responsible for reporting the results of required analyses into the state’s inventory tracking system, METRC. This system tracks the medical marijuana product as it is cultivated, manufactured into medical marijuana products, tested by a laboratory, and distributed to licensed dispensaries.
The Ohio Admin. Code provides detailed requirements on how the results are to be reported. These results determine whether each batch of product can move forward in the supply chain and can ultimately be sold to patients.”
In Ohio, there are currently 8 laboratories licensed to test cannabis under the Medical Marijuana Control Program. These include North Coast Testing Laboratories, LLC, ACT Laboratories, Inc., One Bond, CP Labs, Priority Labs, LLC, Midway Labs, Pinnacle Testing and Specialty Lab, and SV Labs. Both Battelle and Central State University additionally hold provisional licenses for cannabis testing.
To learn more about the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program, visit Terrasana’s FAQ page. Or, stop in to one of our four Ohio dispensaries in Columbus, Cleveland, Fremont, and Springfield. Our expert Patient Consultants are always there to help!