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Hocking College offering to serve as medical cannabis testing site for State of Ohio

HB 523 at Hocking CollegeNelsonville, Ohio, September 5, 2017 – Hocking College is announcing its intention to fulfill Ohio law as the research facility for the State of Ohio’s Medical Cannabis testing laboratory.

“The decision to lead this medical cannabis lab effort was not based on the merits or lack of merits regarding cannabis,” stated Dr. Betty Young, President of Hocking College. “The state legislators made a decision on the subject. Our goal is to partner with the State of Ohio to fulfill the legislative mandate contained in HB 523 that specifically requires an Institute of Higher Education serve as the lab testing site.”

“In addition to the legislative mandate, Hocking College’s role will be to ensure public safety by providing the necessary lab services that will assure access to a safe medical product to the citizens of Ohio,” said Young, “The research and academic potential of serving as the lab testing site will support the kind of hands on, high tech training that is the hallmark of Hocking College."

Hocking College is currently developing a comprehensive laboratory science curriculum that will include tracks in medical laboratory technician, forensics and chemical laboratory science. 

The College is working with Dr. Jonathan Cachat to develop the laboratory science curricula and undergraduate research. He will also serve as the director of the testing lab. Hocking College will create an endowment to provide the funds for laboratory equipment, renovation, and initial operations. The lab will provide more than a dozen new jobs for the local community.


Click Here to Download the Press Release


What Does This Mean for Hocking College?

In addition to bringing more jobs to Nelsonville and the surrounding area. Hocking College will also have the opportunity to develop tracks that prepare students for careers in this industry.


Medical Cannabis at Hocking College

HB 523 Summary*

*All information has been pulled from the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program website

Medical Marijuana Control Program 

  • Requires that the Ohio Department of Commerce and State Board of Pharmacy administer a Medical Marijuana Control Program. 
  • Establishes the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee and authorizes it to make recommendations concerning the Medical Marijuana Control Program to the Department of Commerce, Board of Pharmacy, and State Medical Board.
  • Abolishes the Advisory Committee five (5) years and thirty (30) days after the bill's effective date.
  • Permits a patient, on the recommendation of a physician, to use medical marijuana to treat a qualifying medical condition.
  • Authorizes the Board of Pharmacy to register patients and caregivers and to issue licenses to medical marijuana retail dispensaries.
  • Authorizes the Department of Commerce to issue licenses to medical marijuana cultivators, processors, and testing laboratories.
  • Authorizes the Medical Board to issue certificates to physicians seeking to recommend treatment with medical marijuana.
  • Prohibits the cultivation of medical marijuana for personal, family, or household use.
  • Prohibits the smoking or combustion of medical marijuana.


  • Authorizes the legislative authority of a municipal corporation or a board of township trustees to adopt regulations to prohibit, or limit the number of, retail dispensaries.
  • Provides that agricultural use zoning limitations that apply to townships do not prohibit a township from regulating the location of retail dispensaries or prohibiting the dispensaries from being located in the unincorporated territory of the township.
  • Prohibits a cultivator, processor, retail dispensary, or laboratory from being located or relocating within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground, or public park.
  • Requires that the Department of Commerce or Board of Pharmacy specify whether a license holder may remain in operation, must relocate, or have its license revoked after a school, church, public library, public playground, or public park opens within 500 feet of the license holder's premises.

Employment Laws

  • Provides that nothing in the bill requires an employer to permit or accommodate an employee's use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana; prohibits an employer from taking any adverse employment action an employer may take under current law because of a person's use, possession, or distribution of medical marijuana; or permits a person to sue an employer for taking an adverse employment action related to medical marijuana.
  • Provides that nothing in the bill prohibits an employer from establishing and enforcing a drug testing policy, drug-free workplace policy, or zero-tolerance drug policy or interferes with federal restrictions on employment, including U.S. Department of Transportation regulations.
  • Considers a person who is discharged from employment because of the person's medical marijuana use to have been discharged for just cause under the Unemployment Compensation Law if the use violated an employer's drug-free workplace policy, zero-tolerance policy, or other formal program or policy regulating medical marijuana use and thus ineligible for unemployment benefits, which appears to be similar to current law.
  • Maintains the rebuttable presumption that an employee is ineligible for workers' compensation if the employee was under the influence of marijuana and being under the influence of marijuana was the proximate cause of the injury, regardless of whether the marijuana use is recommended by a physician.

Tax Laws

  • Requires that land used to cultivate or process medical marijuana be taxed based on fair market value rather than current agricultural use value (CAUV).

Banking Services

  • Exempts a financial institution that provides financial services to a licensed cultivator, processor, retail dispensary, or laboratory from any Ohio criminal law an element of which may be proven by substantiating that a person provides financial services to a person who possesses, delivers, or manufactures marijuana or marijuana derived products, if the cultivator, processor, retail dispensary, or laboratory is in compliance with the bill and the applicable Ohio tax laws. 
  • Authorizes the Director of Commerce to adopt rules that establish a closed-loop payment processing system under which the state creates accounts to be used only by registered patients and caregivers at licensed retail dispensaries and by other licensed entities.

Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS)

  • Requires that a retail dispensary report to the OARRS when dispensing medical marijuana to a patient or caregiver.

Click Here to Download House Bill 523

Frequently Asked Questions

What benefit will this opportunity provide for Hocking College?
This opportunity is expected to bring new jobs to the Nelsonville area. An estimated 10+ jobs are expected to be created.
What resources are available for those who are misusing or abusing medication or other drugs?

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, call 877.275.6364 for more information or a referral.

Additional information and resources can be found on StartTalking.Ohio.gov.


Additional Information

General Program Information
For more information on the Medical Marijuana Control Program in Ohio, please visit their website here.

Information About Hocking College
For more information on the Medical Marijuana Control Program at Hocking College, please subscribe to updates. 

Addiction or Abuse Information
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, call 877.275.6364 for more information or a referral. Additional information and resources can be found on StartTalking.Ohio.gov.

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