The state has awarded two contracts totaling more than $1.75 million to companies that will help grow the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program.

A third contract, for video monitoring of 1,000 cameras watching the entire marijuana system, will be issued later.

The Ohio Department of Commerce, which oversees the medical marijuana program, said Tuesday that Metrc, of Lakeland, Florida, was awarded a contract for nearly $1.2 million to set up the "seed-to-sale" system. The system will monitor the entire process, from when growers buy marijuana seeds, through the cultivation, processing, testing and sale of medical marijuana. Four other companies submitted bids.

The state also awarded a $573,600 contract to Persistent Systems Inc., a national company with an office in Dublin, to handle the "design, development and implementation" of licenses for marijuana cultivators, processors, testing laboratories and their employees. Three other companies vied for the contract.

The Department of Commerce also will hire a vendor to provide an "Open Video Management System" to connect up to 1,000 video surveillance cameras located in marijuana growing, processing and dispensing sites around the state to a single monitoring location. That includes 24 marijuana growing facilities at sites yet to be determined, processing and testing facilities, and 60 dispensaries.

The network must provide "real-time visibility to facility activity" at all locations, according to state specifications

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There is no cost estimate yet.

House Bill 523, the law approved last year by state lawmakers and signed by Gov. John Kasich, allows patients with any of 21 qualifying diseases and medical conditions, including chronic pain, to obtain a recommendation from a physician to get medical marijuana. The drug can be obtained in a form to vaporize, but not smoke, or as an oil, tincture, patch or in edible form.

Only people with approved medical cards from the state, plus caregivers, will be allowed to buy marijuana. They can buy a 90-day supply at one time.

So far, the medical marijuana program has an operating budget totaling nearly $9.8 million, including two loans authorized by the Office of Budget and Management as well as money from the biennial state budget, according to financial documents released last week.

The program expects income of $2.3 million from a variety of application fees and employees licenses.

The state also released the full set of marijuana dispensary maps last week. The maps break down the state into four quadrants, with 60 dispensaries allocated around the state.

The breakdown of which areas get dispensaries favors urban areas. Franklin County is tentatively allocated five dispensaries, while Jackson, Gallia, Lawrence and Scioto counties get just one for all four counties. The same situation holds true for Cuyahoga County, with five dispensaries, while Lake, Geauga and Portage have one among them.


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