One year ago today, Governor John Kasich signed Ohio’s medical marijuana program into law. Growers were just allowed to start applying this week. Businesses, like dispensaries and processors, still have a few months before they can apply.
Moratoriums and temporary bans are going up all over the state, Cleveland.com reports. Some of those moratoriums and bans have been lifted – mostly due to the tax revenue potential and job creation from the new industry. Doctors can’t submit recommendations yet and patients don’t have access yet.
Testing labs, cultivators and processors haven’t been able to obtain licenses yet. Even with some of the regulatory process being slightly behind schedule, the state still plans to have dispensaries open by its deadline of September 8, 2018.
Even though there aren’t any dispensaries open and patients don’t have a way to obtain their medicine, they’re still allowed to possess/use medical marijuana. Patients have to have proper documentation from an Ohio physician saying they’ve been recommended for medical marijuana to certify compliance. Doctors, however, without all of the pieces in place, are reluctant to issue the required paperwork patients need.
The difficulty for Ohio physicians is that there’s not a certification or education process in place yet, so many are still hesitant to recommend medical marijuana for patients.
Patients are getting frustrated. One patient, Amanda Candow has multiple sclerosis. She doesn’t know how much an affirmative defense letter can help her.
She said, “Everything is so vague and when you’re a patient, it feels personal – why are they doing this to me? I didn’t choose to have MS or choose to have super tight muscles when I wake up in the morning, and the one thing that gives me relief I can’t have.”
Representative Kirk Schuring says he’s willing to make necessary changes to the program. He wants to ensure that the program serves patients properly.
Schuring said, “It wouldn’t be the first time in the legislative process that a bill isn’t implemented how we envisioned it. I’m committed to making sure the program works.”