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Medical marijuana in Springfield: What you should know

Two business have been chosen to fill the spots for medical marijuana operations allotted to serve the Clark, Champaign and Union County region.

Here are four things to know about the businesses and the efforts in the greater Springfield area.

» MORE COVERAGE: Springfield, Yellow Springs to get large marijuana growing operations

Sites awarded to Mad River Twp., Yellow Springs

According to state records, Pure Ohio Wellness was approved to operate in an existing building located at 4020 Dayton-Springfield Rd. in Mad River Twp., outside of Springfield. Companies related to the business already have growing and retail operations in Colorado and Nevada.

Cresco Labs LLC would plan to build a new facility on Dayton Street in Yellow Springs, across the road from Yellow Springs High School. City officials have said the new facility will be built far enough away from the campus to comply with state guidelines.

An extended consideration period

Medical marijuana became legal in Ohio when Gov. John Kaisch signed a bill allowing the substance in 2016. Following that, city commissioners unanimously voted in August 2016 to place a six-month moratorium on allowing any businesses related to the industry to open in the city. That moratorium was then extended in February to allow commissioners another six months to better understand potential zoning issues with medical marijuana dispensaries and processing centers that could come to the area. The temporary ban was then allowed to expire in September.

A large demand for a limited amount of spots

The two facilities awarded to the Clark-Champaign-Union County region are a fraction of a limited number of slots designated to be able to open in Ohio. The state program and the Ohio Board of Pharmacy will only allow 60 dispensaries and processing facilities total in the state, with 15 of those being awarded to Southwestern Ohio, which includes the greater Springfield region.

When the council announced the extended moratorium period, some residents expressed concern the council’s ban would discourage potential businesses from trying to establish shops in the area.

During the time period the state was accepting license applications, however, the program’s website experienced higher than anticipated volume, and as such, the deadline to submit applications was extended by two hours to accommodate the influx. One of the applications from the Springfield area was rejected due to allegedly failing to follow submission guidelines, which has led to a lawsuit against the state.

An involved process

Dispensary owners must pay a $5,000 application fee, a $70,000 certificate of operation fee and have $250,000 in the bank to cover operating expenses. A total of 109 applicants applied for the open slots in Ohio, according to state records.

Ohio is the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana. The state’s law doesn’t allow marijuana to be smoked or grown at home. It will have to be used in patches, vapors, edibles or other forms.

The medical marijuana program is expected to be operational by September of 2018. More information can be found online at the program’s website.

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