HAMILTON COUNTY, Ohio (WKRC) - With the first medical marijuana dispensary opening soon near Steubenville, attention will soon shift to southwest Ohio, where the dispensaries are still not ready for business.
The original hope was for the medicinal marijuana program in Ohio to be up and running by Sept. 8. That has not happened as the dispensaries in Hamilton County are in varying degrees of construction or development. One of the local dispensaries is still under construction, while another has reserved parking spots, but can't see inside to know how far along it is. Another one has a new, green roof.
One reason things have taken so long is there are separate licensing procedures for dispensaries, growers, product manufacturers, and testing labs. But the first date of sale to customers is soon approaching.
The first dispensary is in a small town near the West Virginia border. More will open across the state at some point, including the three dispensaries in Hamilton County, and the total of four in Butler, Warren, and Highland Counties.
The medical marijuana business could create thousands of jobs, some in kind-of related fields. In Hartwell, a tobacco store also selling vaping products has opened a few doors down from a dispensary.
Ohio allows medical marijuana for 21 specific illnesses with a recommendation from a doctor who is certified to do that. The recommendation lasts for one year, can be renewed by your doctor, and you can only purchase a limited amount, not go from one dispensary to the next to stock up.