Greater Cincinnati Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Await Inspection, Could Open Soon

Pending final inspections by the state of Ohio, Cincinnatians could soon be within minutes of three medicinal marijuana dispensaries.

Greater Cincinnati Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Await Inspection, Could Open Soon
ROBERTO VALDIVIA

A medical marijuana dispensary in Hartwell and two others outside the city limits could open soon — if the state performs final inspections and gives them the green light.

Have a Heart Cincy, the coming Hartwell dispensary, is a roughly 10,000-square-foot store owned by investors headed by New Prospect Baptist Church's Rev. Damon Lynch III. Once the state inspects Have a Heart and issues final certifications for operation, the dispensary should be able to stock products and open. Two other dispensaries in Columbia Township — Verilife and Verdant Creations — are in a similar position. 

Dispensaries must show they have adequate security, labeling and tracking measures in place before they receive their final certification. 

Ohio's medicinal marijuana program — created by state lawmakers after a series of attempts by activists to get marijuana legalization on the ballot and approved by voters — has faced a rocky road, with delays and occasional legal battles. As of this week, less than half of the 56 dispensaries approved by the state had received final inspections and been cleared to open. But the process has sped up somewhat: seven dispensaries have come online since last month. 

Ohio has roughly 51,000 residents with medicinal marijuana licenses, which are available for those with any of 21 conditions that range from cancer to epilepsy. To date, about half of those with the licenses have purchased legal medicinal marijuana — a fact that could be influenced by the paucity of dispensaries that have been open so far.  

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