Cannabis is becoming decriminalized all across the country. In fact, as of 2023, 37 states, along with Washington D.C., have legalized the use of medical marijuana. And, a total of 19 states, plus D.C., have fully legalized marijuana–which covers recreational or “adult-use” as well. This number is also about to increase with the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Ohio as well.
Just like legalization, regulations for cannabis are also determined at the state level. This includes mandates around purchase limits, who qualifies for the use of medical marijuana, testing procedures, and more. But, at the federal level, a separate set of rules also exist and according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) marijuana is still considered an illegal substance. Understandably, this not only causes clashes between the federal and state entities, but also a great deal of confusion for marijuana businesses and consumers.
In this blog, we’ll break it down by talking through the cannabis regulations currently in place in both Ohio and Massachusetts, and additionally how marijuana is tested within both states in order to keep local medical marijuana patients and adult-use cannabis consumers safe.
Cannabis Regulations in Ohio – The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program
Despite stringent federal regulations, Ohio legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2016 through the passage of House Bill 523 approved by the Ohio General Assembly.
This is possible because the federal budget includes “provisions to protect states’ rights to responsibly regulate medical cannabis programs”, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, signed into law in 2014, additionally prohibits the Justice Department from allocating funds towards interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws. And, the House of Representatives has voted multiple times to stop medical cannabis crackdown.
On November 7th, 2023, Ohioans additionally voted to legalize recreational marijuana. A decision which will have an effect on some of the following cannabis regulation information.
Since the original legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio, rules and regulations around the substance have been set by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. The program lists out 28 different medical conditions which qualify patients to participate and receive a Medical Marijuana Card from a licensed healthcare provider. Qualifying conditions include things like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, sickle cell anemia, post traumatic stress disorder, and tourette syndrome.
The program also lays out specific supply limits which includes minimum purchase quantities and maximum quantities purchased within a 90-day period, which is split into two 45-day fill periods. Purchase limits are broken down by dry flower, topicals, edibles and tinctures, and vaporization oils.
For example, here are the current 90-day supply limits, as defined by the Ohio Administrative Code:
- Dry Flower: 9 oz. (254.7 g) of plant material
- Topicals: 26.55g of THC content in patches, lotions, creams, or ointments
- Edibles & Tinctures: 9.9g of THC content in oil, tincture, capsule, or edible form for oral administration
- Vaporization Oils: 53.1g of THC content in medical marijuana oil for vaporization.
Note: These limits are set higher for patients diagnosed with a terminal illness.
It’s also important to note that Ohio does not currently allow the smoking of cannabis.
The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program also spells out rules and regulations for cannabis cultivators, processors, and dispensaries. All of these businesses are required to apply through the Ohio Department of Commerce and are additionally regulated by the Ohio State Pharmacy Board and State Medical Board. The program also specifies the requirement for cannabis testing facilities within the state, which are licensed and regulated through the Ohio Department of Commerce, as well.
Cannabis Testing in Ohio
Every single batch of medical marijuana product must be sampled and tested in Ohio before being sold to dispensaries like Terrasana. This ensures that the product is not only free of contaminants and safe for consumption, but also that it contains the ingredients and level of cannabinoids it claims to.
The process of testing is as follows, laid out by the Ohio Department of Commerce: “A testing laboratory staff member travels to a cultivator or processor to obtain a random sample of medical marijuana and then returns to the lab to analyze the sample for contaminants and for cannabinoid quantities or ‘potency.’
Once testing is finished, the laboratories are then responsible for reporting the results of required analyses into the state’s inventory tracking system, METRC. This system tracks the medical marijuana product as it is cultivated, manufactured into medical marijuana products, tested by a laboratory, and distributed to licensed dispensaries.
The Ohio Admin. Code provides detailed requirements on how the results are to be reported. These results determine whether each batch of product can move forward in the supply chain and can ultimately be sold to patients.”
In Ohio, there are currently 8 laboratories licensed to test cannabis under the Medical Marijuana Control Program. These include North Coast Testing Laboratories, LLC, ACT Laboratories, Inc., One Bond, CP Labs, Priority Labs, LLC, Midway Labs, Pinnacle Testing and Specialty Lab, and SV Labs. Both Battelle and Central State University additionally hold provisional licenses for cannabis testing.
Cannabis Regulations in Massachusetts
Massachusetts voted to legalize the use of medical marijuana in 2012, and additionally legalized recreational, or adult-use cannabis, at the end of 2016.
Since the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts, rules and regulations around the substance have been set by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and specifically the Cannabis Control Commission. The commission lays out rules as it pertains to both medical and adult-use cannabis.
When it comes to medical marijuana, Massachusetts lists out different medical conditions which qualify patients 18 and older to participate and receive a Medical Marijuana Card from a licensed healthcare provider. Qualifying conditions include cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis (MS), or other debilitating conditions as determined in writing by a certified physician. Patients under 18 years of age, must be approved by Massachusetts-licensed certifying physicians and exhibit a debilitating life-limiting illness or condition.
Most other cannabis regulations in Massachusetts pertain to both kinds of marijuana users. Both parties may grow cannabis at home for personal use, but only to a certain extent. All users are prohibited from consuming marijuana in a public place, crossing state lines with cannabis products, or mailing it. Driving under the influence of cannabis is also illegal, and it also must be in a closed container if being transported in a car.
Purchase limits for cannabis in Massachusetts are set at 1 ounce of flower, 5 grams of concentrate, and 500 milligrams of edibles per person per day. There is no limit on cannabis topicals or ointments, however.
Massachusetts also requires all marijuana items to feature a label which includes the seller’s name, THC and CBD percentages, warning of any health risks, and the testing date and test results.
Cannabis Testing in Massachusetts
All cannabis products sold at Massachusetts dispensaries must be tested by a licensed marijuana testing facility and all results are only valid for one year.
According to MassachusettsCannabis.org, “Marijuana or cannabis are required to be tested for environmental media, such as soils, water, and solid growing media. Marijuana is also tested for cannabinoid profile and contaminants as specified by the Cannabis Control Commission, including, but not limited to mold, heavy metals, mildew, plant growth, bacteria, fungi, mycotoxins, terpenes, regulators, and the presence of pesticides. Final ready-to-sell marijuana vaporizer products must also be screened for heavy metals and Vitamin E Acetate (VEA).”
Marijuana products are collected as representative batch samples in ready-to-use condition. The frequency of these sample collections is determined by product type, patient demand, etc.
There are currently two types of cannabis testing laboratories in Massachusetts: Independent Testing Laboratory (ITIL) and the Standard Laboratory. Both must be licensed and registered with the Cannabis Control Commision and qualified to test marijuana products. But, a Standard Laboratory also has the power to conduct blind taste tests to validate findings from an ITIL. There are currently 15 licensed Independent Testing Laboratories in Massachusetts.
To learn more about both medical and recreational cannabis in both states, visit Neighborgoods homepage. Or, take a peek at the marijuana products we currently have available in Massachusetts and Ohio.