COLUMBUS — A newly introduced bill would block Ohio’s award of final licenses for medical marijuana growing facilities, processors, and testers while it fixes flaws with the way it has scored applications.
Rep. Bill Coley (R-West Chester)
But the bill, introduced by Sen. Bill Coley (R., West Chester), would not push back the Sept. 8 deadline set in law for the program to be in full operation.
“As a human endeavor, there’s going to be mistakes made,” Mr. Coley said. “The question in somebody’s character is what do you do when you find out about it.”
The bill would make it clear that the Department of Commerce may put its process on pause as State Auditor Dave Yost completes his review of the process. Commerce would have 30 days and make any fixes, including potentially going back and rescoring applications for which provisional licenses have already been issued.
Commerce’s licensing process has come under fire from multiple directions. Some of those denied potentially lucrative licenses to grow the cannabis to fuel the fledgling industry have sued and have threatened to go to the ballot this fall.
Someone with a criminal drug record was found to have participated as a consultant in reviewing and scoring applications for cultivator licenses. Unrelated scoring errors discovered after cultivator licenses had already been awarded led Commerce to find that one applicant was mistakenly denied a license.
And Mr. Yost, a Republican candidate for attorney general, has raised questions as to whether the sharing of software passwords may have compromised the integrity of the process.
Mr. Coley admits that perhaps the General Assembly should have played a bigger role in spelling out how such processes would work rather than leave it to government agencies to