COLUMBUS, Ohio — A small Ohio college says it will apply to become a testing laboratory for medical marijuana in a role that other Ohio schools have been reluctant to pursue.

Hocking College in the southeast Ohio city of Nelsonville is the first school to announce a bid to test cannabis for potency and safety before it’s sold at dispensaries.

State law mandates only colleges and universities can apply for testing permits for the program’s first year. Ohio schools have hesitated over concerns about losing federal funding because marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

The Hocking College president says the decision to apply was not based on the “merits or lack of merits” concerning marijuana.

Schools have until Sept. 22 to apply. The medical marijuana program is expected to launch in September 2018.