Ohio medical marijuana should be available to patients by September next year but the implementation process has been very slow. One of the major rules of medical marijuana is that it will be lab tested for potency, molds and fungus. The law also requires that public colleges and universities conduct the testing on legal marijuana during the first year of legalization. A relatively small college, Hocking College, decided to step up while other institutions declined to apply.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Hocking College is the first school to announce it wants to be a state testing laboratory for medical marijuana.
The Southeast Ohio school will apply to test cannabis for safety and potency, which the law will require before sales. Other Ohio public colleges and universities have been hesitant to offer their facilities for testing, concerned they could jeopardize federal funding since marijuana is illegal.
Under the state’s medical marijuana law, only public colleges can test cannabis for the first year of the program. The application period to apply runs Sept. 11-22, said Stephanie Gostomski, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Commerce, which is among the state agencies involved in the medical marijuana program.
Hocking President Betty Young said in a statement that a medical marijuana testing lab would dovetail with the school’s hands-on research and high-tech training. The school is developing a laboratory science curriculum to include tracks in medical laboratory technology, forensics and chemical laboratory science.
“The decision to lead this medical cannabis lab effort was not based on the merits or lack of merits regarding cannabis,” she said. “The state legislators made a decision on the subject.”
The school has already selected a testing lab director in Jonathan Cachat, who will develop curriculum and undergraduate research. The college will create an endowment to obtain money for equipment, building renovation and initial operations.
On Tuesday, Hocking College announced it was going to be the state’s official medical marijuana tester. But that was inaccurate, since Ohio needs to first look at all the applicants before making any decisions on labs, said Gostomski of the Commerce Department.
The law requires medical marijuana to be available September 2018, although some people question whether the state will make that deadline. People with 21 conditions may qualify for medical marijuana, but it cannot be legally smoked.