Marijuana fees shouldn’t be cheap – The Blade

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A high cost of launching a pot-related business may turn out to be a good way to weed out ill-prepared business owners.



The cost of doing business as a medical-marijuana provider in Ohio isn’t going to be cheap. And that’s probably a good thing.

State regulators organizing the infrastructure for what will be the state’s medical-marijuana regulating body have said that licenses for businesses involved in growing and selling marijuana under a law approved by state voters in 2016 will be more expensive than in many other states that allow medical marijuana.

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program plans to charge a $20,000 application fee and $180,000 license fee for larger growers, and a $2,000 application fee and $18,000 license fee for smaller growers.

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They acknowledge that the $10.8 million a year this will generate would exceed the amount the state needs to run the medical marijuana program, at least initially.

Ohio voters approved a medical-marijuana measure last November. The law went into effect in June, but the state doesn’t expect to have the licensing and other regulations ready to manage the program until September, 2018.

The law allows people with 21 medical conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, and epilepsy to purchase and use marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. 

Ohio voters rejected a recreational marijuana measure in 2015.

Critics have complained that the proposed Ohio fees would make medical marijuana operations more expensive than in other states where they are legal. It would be unfortunate if that makes the cost of getting medicine they need prohibitive for the patients who can truly benefit from medical marijuana.

But a high cost of launching a pot-related business may turn out to be a good way to exclude ill-prepared business owners and those who seek to use the medical-marijuana law as a cover for recreational use.

Getting into the medical marijuana business shouldn’t be for the frivolous or insincere. And a robust regulatory agency should help Ohio manage the system to benefit the relatively few who qualify for it.

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