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Ohio Universities Medical Marijuana Testing – Part of the agreements when Ohio legalized medical marijuana was that their universities would be the ones doing testing for quality and other factors. This is theoretically a nice idea, except they don’t want to.

It’s actually a bit more complicated than not wanting to: it’s more like caught up in the tensions between state and federal law. Universities often depend on both federal and state grants and funding. Agreeing to do testing on medical marijuana could potentially jeopardize the federal dollars they rely on. The current view of the federal government is that marijuana is illicit and without medical benefits, and therefore illegal. In practice, this means that banks are scared to take cannabis cash, even in states that have legalized, universities are unable to do research and a variety of other problems where the discrepancy in federal and state regulations causes tension.

While some Ohio lawmakers have formally requested that the federal government re-Schedule the drug, it’s mostly a symbolic gesture that might not gain traction–though Ohio lawmakers aren’t the only ones asking.

Testing is integral to Ohio’s MMJ program: products are required to be analyzed by an approved lab for potency, homogeneity, and contamination before they can move on to be sold in legal dispensaries around the state. We won’t know for sure whether no Universities or Colleges apply to take part in the program until those application processes open in September of this year, and a lack of testing could delay implementation of the MMJ program, which is scheduled to go live in September 2018.

Legislators have attempted to assuage concerns by reminding that although legislation gives first priority to public colleges and universities, the licensing application process will open up to private labs in June of next year. Even if the public universities feel that they can’t risk their federal funding, this shouldn’t prevent testing from moving forward before the program is scheduled to be implemented, but it could delay things. We’ll just have to wait and see what the schools do.