While marijuana cultivation, sale and possession are illegal on a federal and state level, in 2016, House Bill 523, which legalized medical marijuana for certain medical conditions, was signed into law. Although medical marijuana was supposed to be legal to sell in our state, starting September 8, 2018, officials have stated that they will be unable to meet this deadline. However, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program is in the process of issuing certificates to hundreds of businesses — manufacturers, dispensaries, and more — associated with medical marijuana.

In addition, as part of the legalization of medical marijuana, all medical marijuana patients and caregivers must register with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. But, identification cards have not yet been distributed. These ID cards will be dispensed when the patient registry is available.

A person’s registration will be valid starting from when it was issued and will last 12 months. If a person is facing a terminal illness, then their registration will last six months. Personal identifying information found on the registration will not be available to the public at large.

There are 21 conditions that can be treated through the use of medical marijuana. The law only allows medical marijuana to be used in the form of patches, edibles, vapors and oils — it cannot legally be smoked. Still, patients with these conditions may find that their sole means of relief is through medical marijuana. While it is taking longer than anticipated to get the medical marijuana program off the ground, once medical marijuana is available to patients, with the right certifications people will be able to lawfully prescribe, cultivate, sell and possess this drug.