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State approves additional $2.1 million for legal expenses related to medical marijuana program

Posted: 9:30 AM, Dec 19, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-19 14:30:52Z
Medical marijuana plans divides residents

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Controlling Board has approved a request for an additional $2.1 million for legal expenses associated with the regulation of medical marijuana.

The request, filed on Monday by the Department of Commerce and approved during the board’s meeting on Tuesday, states that $1 million was originally budgeted to the department for legal expenses.

“However, because of legal challenges to the program, expenses for the special counsel are now anticipated at approximately $3.1 million for the fiscal year,” the request states.

According to the Associated Press, an Ohio Department of Commerce official said the $2.1 million is needed to cover legal costs from lawsuits brought by companies denied medical marijuana cultivator licenses.

The Department of Commerce is one of three state government agencies responsible for operation of Ohio’s medical marijuana program. The Department of Commerce oversees cultivators, processors and testing laboratories. The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy oversees retail dispensaries and registration of patients and caregivers. The State Medical Board certifies physicians to recommend medical marijuana.

RELATED: Medical marijuana patient registry is now open in Ohio