Legal medical marijuana date won't help most patients

Legal marijuana date won't help most patients

While many people are looking forward to this long Labor Day weekend, others have their sights set on Sept. 8, the day medical marijuana becomes legal in Ohio.

In June, Ohio was the 25th state to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program. 

There's no licensed legal businesses to grow, process or sell marijuana or marijuana products in Ohio.

But patients with one of 19 medical conditions -- including cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy and extreme pain -- will be able to go to states where medical marijuana is legally sold, buy it and return to Ohio to use it. They would need a doctor's note or authorization.

But not all states permit sales to non-residents.

And flying to other states to get it could pose problems. as marijuana is still illegal under federal law, so it could be a potential legal problem if a person with it is apprehended.

And right now there are no legal marijuana businesses in Ohio and there won't be for some time.

So Sept. 8 is not a benchmark date for activity in Ohio.

Still to come? A 13-person advisory panel must still be picked by the governor and legislature to work with the State Commerce Department, Medical Board and Board of Pharmacy to to draw up regulations to grow, process and sell marijuana and its derivative products. The deadline for regulations is May 2017.

Some Ohio cities are concerned about possible enforcement issues and other problems if marijuana businesses come to town. The new law gives cities local control. Despite the fact that licensing of farms, processing facilities and retail dispensaries is still some time away, some cities are moving to ban or control marijuana businesses.

And state law forbids marijuana businesses from being within 500 feet of a school, library, church or playground, so that's another consideration.

For example, Lakewood and Brooklyn have passed six month moratoriums on opening any marijuana businesses.  Lakewood is also halting changing zoning or building laws to permit them.

The state's new legal marijuana industry is not expected to be completely up and running until September 2018.

According to the Associated Press, here is what is in the plan and what is not in the plan:

In The Plan:

•   Adults could buy and use oil, tinctures, plant material, edibles and patches with a doctor's recommendation. Parents could purchase these products for their children younger than 18 with a doctor's referral.

•   The Ohio Department of Commerce would oversee those who grow, process and test medical marijuana. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy would register patients and caregivers and license dispensaries. The Ohio State Medical Board would handle certificates for doctors who want to recommend marijuana.

•   A program to reduce the cost of medical marijuana for veterans and others too poor to pay.

•   The ability to purchase medical marijuana from other states while Ohio sets up its program. This would expire 60 days after the pharmacy board establishes its rules.

•   Legal medical marijuana for people with these conditions: AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn's disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is chronic, severe, or intractable, Parkinson's disease, positive status for HIV, posttraumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette's syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis.

What's Not In The Plan:

•   Smoking medical marijuana

•   Growing medical marijuana at home

•   Any details on who could grow marijuana commercially. That would be determined later by the Ohio Department of Commerce.

•   Any requirement that pharmacists oversee dispensaries.

•   Protections for employees fired from their jobs because they used medical marijuana.

 


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