Judges decline to halt Ohio medical marijuana implementation

A pair of Franklin County judges ruled this week against stopping Ohio’s medical marijuana program, siding with state regulators and patients who said any further delay in the program would prevent sick people from getting their medicine.

Unsuccessful applicants to grow medical marijuana wanted the court to pause the program while state regulators consider their appeals. The Department of Commerce, which oversees the cultivation part of the medical marijuana program, put all appeals hearings on hold and said it could take a year to get through all 67.

On Thursday, Common Pleas Judge Kim Brown dismissed most of a lawsuit brought by CannAscend Ohio LLC and four other companies because they had not yet exhausted all their appeals, including a Department of Commerce-sponsored administrative hearing.

On Friday, Judge Richard Frye concluded the Department of Commerce failed to give timely appeals hearings to rejected applicants and ordered the agency to hold an administrative hearing for Ohio Releaf LLC within 15 days. But Frye declined to order a preliminary injunction to stop the department from issuing final licenses to the 12 large-scale growers selected in November.

The pair of rulings is a win for the Department of Commerce, companies chosen to grow medical marijuana and patients who worried the lawsuits would slow down the already sluggish rollout of Ohio’s medical marijuana program.

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