Ohio Regulator's Arbitrary Process for Issuing Processor Licenses

Ohio’s Department of Commerce has sent applicants for the remaining 27 processor licenses a letter requesting additional clarifying information that will be used in the scoring process for issuing the remaining licenses. The letter has requested information on two scoring factors, a facility plot plan drawn to scale and affirmations of compliance with security plan requirements, which will be used in determining the final recipients.

The Department will be able to objectively score the effectiveness of the security controls represented by the scaled facility plot plan. The Department’s request for affirmations of an applicants intention to comply with requirements is more troubling. The Department should be asking the applicants for evidence that the requirements within the security plan can be operationalized when the license is granted. Evidence could be provided through the processes, procedures and other documentation that outlines the controls that are intended to be used to comply with the regulatory requirements. The design of these processes, procedures and controls should be assessed to determine whether they will be effective. Scoring an applicant’s intention to comply is arbitrary and lacks regulatory integrity.


The Oklahoma Food Safety Board issued draft food safety rules for processors that produce edible marijuana products.  The regulations require processors to follow existing Oklahoma food safety laws and regulations.   In addition to existing regulations, there are additional requirements around labeling and packaging as well as recommended testing procedures. Oklahoma recommends that processors establish written minimal thresholds for the presence of biological, physical and chemical contaminants.  Like Michigan, Oklahoma rules provide that edibles should be tested for E. coli, Samonella, yeast, molds, chemical residue, metals and pesticide residue, and potency.   Labels and packaging must indicate the list of ingredients including the list of marijuana ingredients including the batch of marijuana.


Michigan published guidance outlining examples of edibles that are and are not permissible under the MMFLA.  The bulletin also indicates that only a processor may produce edibles that do not require refrigeration for safety.  The department also requires processors to retain proof that shelf stable, perishable food products have been treated by heat and/or dried to to destroy foodborne microorganisms that can cause illness or spoil food.

 The list of permissible non-refrigerated edible examples include:

• Breads, cookies, muffins and cakes
• Cooked fruit pies, including pie crusts made with butter, lard or shortening
• Fruit jams and jellies (as defined in 21 CFR part 150) in glass jars that can be stored at
room temperature (except vegetable and other non-fruit-based jams/jellies)
• Confections and sweets (made without alcohol)
• Dry herbs, herb mixtures, dip and soup mixes
• Popcorn, granola, coated/uncoated nuts, dehydrated vegetables and fruits
• Chocolate covered pretzels, marshmallows, graham crackers and cereal bars
• Dried pasta made with or without eggs
• Roasted coffee beans or ground roasted coffee
• Vinegars and flavored vinegars

The list of edible examples requiring proof of additional processing to be shelf stable include:

• Salad dressings
• Sauces and condiments, including barbeque sauce, hot sauce, ketchup and mustard
• All beverages, including fruit/vegetable juices, Kombucha tea and apple cider
• Canned pickled products like corn relish, pickles and sauerkraut
• Canned fruits and vegetables like salsa and canned peaches

The list of non-permissible edibles examples include:

 • Hummus
• Garlic in oil mixtures
• Ice and ice products including ice cream
• Pies/cakes that require refrigeration (banana cream, pumpkin, lemon meringue, custard)
• Cheesecake and cakes with glaze and/or frosting that requires refrigeration
• Vegetable jams/jellies such as hot pepper jelly
• Milk and dairy products like butter, cheese and yogurt
• Canned fruit or vegetable butters like pumpkin and apple butter
• Focaccia style breads with fresh vegetables and/or cheeses
• Meat and meat products like fresh and dried meats (jerky)
• Fish and fish products like smoked fish
• Cut melons
• Caramel apples
• Cut tomatoes and chopped/shredded leafy greens
• Products made from fresh cut tomatoes, cut melons and cut leafy greens
• Products made with cooked vegetable products that are not canned