Workers trim plants at a cannabis farm outside of Salinas, Calif., Tuesday, April 25, 2017. Ohio medical marijuana farms should be growing soon. (Patrick Tehan, Bay Area News Group)

How Ohio is getting ready to grow medical marijuana

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio officials are expecting a flood of applications for medical marijuana grower licenses.

The Dayton Daily News reports applications for large medical marijuana cultivator licenses are due by the end of the month.

The state plans to issue 24 licenses. Half of those would be for larger indoor cultivation sites of up to 25,000 square feet of growing space, and the other dozen would be for smaller operations under 3,000 square feet. Small-scale cultivators must apply by June 16.

Applicants will be scored in several areas, including operation plans, security, quality assurance and finances. The state law says medical marijuana should be available by September 2018.

Ohio legalized medical marijuana last year after Republican Gov. John Kasich signed a law authorizing doctors to recommend cannabis use for patients with 21 medical conditions. The state Department of Commerce, Ohio Pharmacy Board and State Medical Board will regulate Ohio’s medical marijuana industry.

Cleveland’s city council has reversed the city’s moratorium on growing medical marijuana but is keeping bans on processing marijuana into medical products and establishing dispensaries. reports that the council rolled back the moratorium on cultivation Monday, after its president raised concerns that the city could miss out on substantial tax revenue if it banned cultivation as Ohio begins allowing and regulating it.

Johnstown, Ohio, which embraced potential medical marijuana business while some other communities rejected it, saw such interest from prospective growers that it has run out of space for that sector.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that possible growers have contracts for four lots for cannabis cultivation in an industrial park in Johnstown, 20 miles northeast of Columbus, and the fifth contract is in the works.

Village Manager Jim Lenner says the growers agree that if they’re licensed by the state, they’ll buy the property and build multimillion-dollar cultivation facilities. Most of those would-be growers are seeking the large-scale grow permit.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Columbus is changing zoning laws to accommodate cannabis cultivators and has already signed off on six businesses seeking approval from Ohio to obtain one of the state’s 24 medical marijuana grow licenses.

A city zoning officials says Columbus plans to allow indoor grow facilities in manufacturing districts. The city also will consider where dispensaries can sell cannabis products in the zoning changes.