Understanding Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program

The Program is Mandated to Start by September 1st

Ohio’s medical marijuana program has been a long time in coming after voters approved it in 2016. The program was originally intended to start in 2017, however bureaucratic challenges delayed its implementation. There are still concerns as the attorney appointed to represent medical marijuana patients in Ohio, Ted Bribart, stepped down recently after expressing frustrations over organizational challenges the state was facing. Regardless, let’s review what medical marijuana patients might expect by September 1st when the program is mandated to begin.

Similar to many other states, such as Florida, that have legalized medical marijuana, Ohio has banned the smoking of cannabis. Unlike Florida though, marijuana flower will be available for purchase to be vaped or ingested in some other way than smoke inhalation. Other cannabis products will also be available such as edibles and concentrates. Here is a breakdown of the permissible amount of each product patients will be allowed.

How much medical marijuana will I be allowed to possess at one time?

A non-terminal registered patient or caregiver can buy the following amounts of medical marijuana every 90 days:

* Up to 8 ounces of tier I medical cannabis. (Tier 1 cannabis must test at or below 23 percent THC)

* Up to 5.3 ounces of tier II medical cannabis. (Tier 2 cannabis must test above 23 percent THC but not more than 35 percent THC)

* Patches, lotions, creams, and other topical forms of medical cannabis totaling no more than 26.55 grams of THC.

* Up to 9.9 grams of THC from cannabis oil, tincture, capsules, and other edible forms.

* And, up to 53.1 grams of THC in oil for vaporization.

Medical marijuana patients must be registered with Ohio’s State Board of Pharmacy, and licenses granted from certified physicians last one year. Licenses for terminally ill patients, which may access larger quantities of medical cannabis, will expire in six months.

The first medical marijuana cultivation facility, which is operated by Cresco Labs LLC out of Chicago Illinois, broke ground in December of 2017. There are 11 other companies that have been granted licenses to cultivate medical marijuana in Ohio. All marijuana must be lab tested for potency and quality before it can be sold by dispensaries. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy will grant 60 licenses to dispensaries for retail sale of medical cannabis. Any sort of home cultivation of marijuana will not be permitted.

What medical conditions qualify for medical marijuana in Ohio?

Under Ohio law, the following are qualifying medical conditions: AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, Parkinson’s disease, positive status for HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis.

Costs for medical marijuana will be fairly volatile over time as more competition and demand come into the nationwide market and supply will also vary. State taxes will likely be the greatest point of contention for consumers and a big deciding factor in whether the illegal market is allowed to persist. Hopefully Ohio gets its act together come September 1st as there are many patients within the state that could benefit from medical marijuana.


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Richard Lowe

Richard Lowe is a 14-year veteran of the financial sector with licenses as a commodity broker (Series 3) and investment advisor representative (IAR Series 65). Along with a focus on raising capital for the firms he was employed with, he also wrote and edited much of the content published by them. He holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts. He has been a longtime advocate for marijuana legalization due to the social injustices associated with marijuana prohibition and the strong potential for the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

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