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Ohio Medical Marijuana Law Blog

Is medical marijuana tested to ensure quality?

Before a medicine is cleared for consumption by the public, it is tested to ensure it actually contains the ingredients it claims it does and at the levels it says it does. The law is no different for medical marijuana, with three cannabis-testing labs currently in operation in Ohio. Two others have also been licensed; however, they have not yet begun operating, as they fear handling a substance that is federally illegal might jeopardize federal grants and licenses.

These laboratories are quasi-regulators, tasked with informing cultivators and processors if their product can be sold or not. These private testing labs must operate independently from the dispensaries, operators and cultivators and are in the unique position of being private corporations working in the interest of public health.

Will medical marijuana be allowed to treat new conditions?

There are currently 21 conditions that allow Ohio residents to qualify for medical marijuana use, but last year the state allowed the public to suggest new conditions. The state medical board committee received more than 100 petitions, which were narrowed down to five conditions. Of those, anxiety and autism are coming closer and closer to getting approved as a qualifying condition. The board rejected insomnia, opioid addiction and depression.

While it is not known how many adults live in the state with autism, more than 44,000 children have the condition. Children can use medical marijuana if an adult is supervising them. Around 1.6 million Ohioans have anxiety. Experts agreed on the use of medical marijuana for treating these two conditions, but not on the three rejected ones. They did agree that it was a safer and effective treatment compared to other available treatments.

Who can buy medical marijuana?

Even when something is used for medicinal purposes, the proper steps need to be taken when using and selling this medicine. While medical marijuana has become legalized in Ohio for qualified conditions, it is important for those in the cannabis related industry to know whom they can sell their product to. If a licensed seller ends up selling medical marijuana to someone who does not have a medical marijuana card, he or she might end up jeopardizing his or her business. It is therefore important to know the correct way to obtain a card.

The first step to obtaining a medical marijuana card is to visit a certified physician. The physician can confirm that the patient has a qualifying condition and can also create a profile for the patient on the relevant registry. It is very important to create and maintain this relationship, as an in-person visit is required at least once a year. Additionally, the physician can make their recommendations directly on the patient registry and can also recommend refills for up to 360 days.

Cannabidiol misinformation may lead to confusion

If you are involved in the exciting new medical marijuana industry, you likely keep up with the national news as well as the decisions from the Ohio government regarding your market. Understanding cannabis and the various products scientists and researchers derive from it can be valuable when assisting patients who come to you for information.

What you may be dealing with more often is confusion and misinformation about cannabidiol. CBD is quickly gaining a reputation for being a miraculous alternative to traditional medicine. While Ohio's stance on cannabis products is changing rapidly, at this moment, marijuana and CBD are the same in the eyes of state laws.

Why is patient access to medical marijuana still limited?

The legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes in Ohio has forced many in the state to reevaluate the way they think about the plant. Cities once famous for illegally growing the plant for years now hope to profit from its legalization, especially as the decline of coal has brought about a loss of jobs and tax revenues.

Given its potential tax benefits, there is no surprise that people are rallying behind the medical marijuana business. Delays in opening up dispensaries and limits in licenses have inhibited the potential revenue the business could bring in, but hopefully this will change as more dispensaries open. Nearly $3.5 million have been generated since the first dispensary has opened, and this number is considerable given it is only available in flower form so far. Additionally, as per state law, medical marijuana cannot be smoked. Sales are expected to increase as more of the licensed processers will be selling the plant as edibles, lotions and oils.

What is a medical marijuana card?

As discussed previously on this blog, the use of marijuana for medical purposes has been legalized in Ohio to help treat and ease the symptoms associated with a number of qualifying conditions. As of now, there are 21 conditions that qualify for treatment. However, someone who has a qualifying condition cannot just walk into a dispensary and ask for medical marijuana-an Ohio medical marijuana card is needed to do so.

If someone has one of the qualifying conditions, they can schedule an appointment with a certified medical marijuana doctor to discuss one's medical issues and treatment history. If the condition is approved, the doctor will likely provide a signed recommendation after the appointment that can be submitted to the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, along with the registration fee. Once the person is entered into the registry, an Ohio medical marijuana card will be emailed to the qualifying patient.

We help overcome hurdles to get a medical marijuana license

Entering any new business venture is intimidating enough, as entrepreneurs try to learn the laws surrounding the field they are entering to ensure they obey it. This becomes difficult when the law surrounding the industry is fluid yet tightly regulated at the same time, as the cannabis industry in Ohio is. The laws in the relatively new legalized marijuana industry can change at any time, yet adhering to them is key to ensure one does not have their business shut down.

It's not just the laws surrounding the dispensation of medical marijuana that are complicated, it is also the hiring of new staff, testing and growing of cannabis, which is regulated and complex. With every step the business takes, it needs to ensure it is complying with all relevant and updated laws.

Medical marijuana business strong, despite roadblocks

Even when businesses deal with obstacles, the numbers can still be promising. Despite the sale of medical marijuana beginning in Ohio in mid January of this year, the industry has garnered around $1.85 million in two months. This is despite the limitations discussed in a recent post with regards to high prices.

As mentioned previously, prices are more than $450 on average in the state, whereas neighboring Michigan prices their medical marijuana flower at $320 near the border. The state's reciprocity program has driven the trend of Ohio patients traveling across the border to purchase cheaper medical marijuana, despite the legal risks involved.

The future for jobs in medical marijuana businesses

While Ohio's medical marijuana industry got off to a slow start, you may be seeing your dispensary growing as more certified physicians recommend cannabis for their patients with qualifying conditions. As your production and trade increases, you are likely considering hiring new employees to your staff.

There is plenty of interest in the medical marijuana industry, and some may think it would be fun to work in any aspect of the business. However, you may be like many in Ohio and across the country who are finding it difficult to attract skilled workers to your company.

High price of medical marijuana discourage buyers

There are positives and negatives surrounding marijuana. The legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio was hailed as a great step, potentially providing much needed relief to people suffering from debilitating pain from a number of medical conditions, as discussed in last week's post. Unfortunately, few people associate cannabis products with pain relief, which is why it might come as a surprise to many that most patients who are purchasing the product are disabled.

Unable to work, they are living on a fixed and limited income and are unable to work to earn more. The cost of their medication-medical marijuana-- is rarely covered by medical insurance, and if the cost is too high, patients will be unable to afford it. Unfortunately, this is the situation that has arisen in Ohio.

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