Massive amounts of money, time and effort are spent to add a medical marijuana initiative to a state ballot, but some states are just not equipped with the right personnel to handle it. Let’s call it what it is, the people of New York, Illinois and now Ohio have to come to terms with the fact that their medical marijuana programs are impotent.
Its not that these states could not implement rules that would allow patients to access their much needed medicine, they could if they were organized enough. In Ohio, Ted Bribart has walked away from his role representing patients in the program simply because he sees all of his efforts as futile.
Ted Bibart, a Columbus-area attorney who was appointed to represent patients on the committee, said the advisory panel has had little opportunity to help craft rules and regulations for the program.
“My fear is that, in the absence of a strong commission of the type originally contemplated by House Bill 523, the Ohio program is headed the way of New York and Illinois, programs debilitated by bureaucracy that have failed to provide adequate patient access and physician participation,” Bibart wrote in his resignation letter to House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger.
When the medical marijuana bill passed the House in 2016, it created a commission to set up and regulate the program for patients, marijuana businesses and physicians. But the Senate wanted existing state agencies to develop the program.
The final version of the bill compromised by dividing the work among three agencies — the Ohio State Medical Board, Board of Pharmacy and Department of Commerce — and establishing an advisory committee to provide feedback to regulators.
“The end result is that this strong group of interdisciplinary experts has been left with a forum that is ill-equipped to consider, discuss and develop substantive policy recommendations for presentation to the regulators,” Bibart wrote.
Bribart is right, there are plenty of states that have created rules that allow medical marijuana patients access to medical cannabis. Perhaps states like Arizona and Florida do not have it perfect, yet patients are now able to access medical marijuana. Do you believe the true issue is that these states do not see medical marijuana as enough of a priority?