As of April, only 36 Ohio doctors have been approved to recommend medical marijuana to their patients. That is a very small number considering the demand, and it's not just because of the state's strict regulations associated with the new medical marijuana program. The unfortunate reality is that very few doctors are willing and able to recommend this powerful treatment option, even if the state allowed them to.
Will There Be Enough Recommending Doctors?
According to an article from Cleveland.com, the 36 doctor approvals were only the first round of "certificate to recommend" applications. More applications will be processed and more approvals granted in the coming months. Still, the question remains as to whether there will be enough recommending doctors to handle the demand. Other states that have legalized medical marijuana have struggled in this area, which is obviously critical for the functioning of all other businesses involved in the industry, including cultivators, processors, testing labs and dispensaries. If there are not enough doctors able to recommend medical marijuana, the businesses established to deliver it may suffer.
Many doctors are hesitant to be part of the medical marijuana program, possibly due to the fact that marijuana is still an illegal substance under federal law. There are also doctors who cannot be part of the program due to the rules of the clinics or medical institutions they work for.
Hopefully, as the state irons out the details of the program more doctors will get involved. In the meantime, medical professionals, clinics and any businesses interested in the medical marijuana program have the right to discuss their concerns and objectives with a lawyer who understands this new and complex program.