Ohio School Intends Bidding for Medical Marijuana Testing

A small college in Columbus, Ohio, says that it intends applying to become a laboratory-testing center for medical marijuana, a role that other schools in Ohio have so far proven hesitant to pursue. Located in Nelsonville, a city in southeast Ohio, Hocking College is officially the very first school to announce its bid to test marijuana for safety and potency before sale in local dispensaries.


The president of Hocking College says that the decision to apply has no basis in the “merits or lack of merits” concerning the medicinal value of marijuana. It simply wants to play a role in securing public safety when recreational sales go into effect, and that all products undergo testing to make sure they are safe for human consumption.


Schools must apply before the September 22 deadline for applications. Ohio’s medical marijuana program is set to launch in September 2018. Currently, state law mandates that only universities and colleges can apply for testing licenses during the first year of the program. However, absolutely no schools have shown interest, until Hocking College made its announcement.


Marijuana remains an illegal substance under federal laws. It still has the classification of a Schedule I narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which the federal government cites as necessary because of its “potential for abuse” and other false claims of yesteryear. Despite science disproving these claims, cannabis is still illegal federally.


For this reason, schools are reluctant to apply for testing permits, particularly those most reliant on federal funding. With cannabis being illegal under federal law, there are fears they could lose this source of income and face federal charges and penalties. If that happens, many will have to close their doors, as without government support, they would be unable to continue operating.


Until either President Trump forces the issue of decriminalization or the federal government decides to legalize marijuana of its own accord, most schools will likely refrain from applying for testing permits in this current, constantly evolving and insecure legal environment. The risk of federal repercussion is simply too high for many to risk.


Jeff Sessions and his attacks on the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which prevents the Justice Department from using federal funds to impose its laws on states that have legalized marijuana, is unlikely to inspire much confidence. It will be interesting to see if the bravery of Hocking College inspires other schools to involve themselves in the Ohio’s medical marijuana program, as well.



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