Medical Marijuana in Ohio – A Closer Look

It took a while, but with consistent lobbying and a push from people that need an active medication for their health problem, medical marijuana became legal in the State of Ohio. As of January 16, 2019, the first medical marijuana dispensaries opened their doors to patients that registered with the state and proved, with their doctor’s assistance, their medical need for marijuana.

Since then, over 17,000 people have registered to use the medical marijuana program and there are still efforts to accommodate all the people wanting to qualify for the program because of the slow implementation.  There are still legal restrictions for people not enrolled in the medical marijuana program that is caught in possession of marijuana. If a person possesses is in of less than 100 grams, or is giving more than 20 grams or less of marijuana to another person or is growing less than 100 grams it is still considered a misdemeanor publishable by a fine of $150. It is not a jailable offense, but it can cause your driver’s license to be suspended for a period ranging from six months to five years.

To avoid penalties and losing your license you can still obtain a permit to have medical marijuana through Ohio’s Medical Marijuana control Program. There are three things that need to be done.

  1. Visit a physician that has been certified by the State of Ohio to confirm you have one of the allowable medical conditions to have it prescribed for your own use and have the physician create your profile through the patient and caregiver registry.
      1. Acceptable Conditions are as follows:
        1. AIDS/HIV
        2. Alzheimers Disease
        3. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
        4. Cancer
        5. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE, a degenerative disease found commonly in people who played contact sports)
        6. Crohn’s Disease
        7. Epilepsy or another Seizure Disorder
        8. Fibromyalgia
        9. Glaucoma
        10. Hepatitis C
        11. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
        12. Multiple Sclerosis
        13. Pain (either chronic & severe or Intractable)
        14. Parkinson’s Disease
        15. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
        16. Sickle Cell Anemia
        17. Spinal Cord Disease or Injury
        18. Tourette’s Syndrome
        19. Traumatic Brain Injury
        20. Ulcerative Colitis
    1. The visit with the physician must be in person and cannot be done over the phone or the internet.
    2. The physician has been certified to approved their patients for medical marijuana need to create and submit their recommendations through the Patient Registry.
      1. The patient must have a valid Ohio Driver’s license, ID card issued by the Ohio Bureau of motor vehicles or a U.S. Passport.
  2. Confirm and complete your portion of the Registration for the Program through the OMMCP Patient and Caregiver website.
    1. Once you have been registered by a physician with the registry, you must respond to an email generated by the account’s creation for you to finish your profile and pay your registration fee
      1. The annual cost of registration:
        1. $50 for patients
        2. $25 for caregivers
      2. Indigent and veterans can qualify for fee reductions.
  3. Be approved through the Registry to have and purchase medical marijuana legally.
    1. You will be approved through email as well as through the mail for your medical marijuana card. You cannot buy anything until you have been approved.
  4. Obtain your medical marijuana card.
    1. You must have your approved card before purchasing medical marijuana.
    2. You will also need to verify your identification before purchase so your legal ID must be up-to-date as well.
  5. Purchase medical marijuana from an approved Ohio Dispensary.
    1. After being approved you can only purchase medical marijuana through the dispensaries in the State of Ohio that have been approved by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.
    2. Dispensary staff will help you find the correct strains and dosages that work for your condition.
    3. Only patients who have a functional registry and medical marijuana card, with a functional recommendation, with their authority-issued document, can purchase medical marijuana.

To find your local dispensaries, you can speak with your prescribing physician or do a local Google search to determine not only which dispensary is the closest one for you, but once you work with the local staff, which strains work for you at that location. It may take multiple visits and multiple trials of different dispensaries to find the one with the correct strains and to figure out your dosages.

One of the main rules is to keep your card active and valid you need to use the locations that have been approved for state Cannabis purchases. You will also need to keep it updated for every year which means maintain an active relationship with your current prescribing physician and making sure they, through your efforts and the registry which will be updated by your doctor and the dispensary, know of your progress using medical marijuana.

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