Your involvement in the medical marijuana industry means you must remain compliant with state laws and alert to changes in those laws. This is a burgeoning industry, and Ohio is treading forward cautiously. You must be careful to avoid missteps that could cost you your license or your business.
One critical element of the medical marijuana industry is understanding the conditions the State Medical Board of Ohio considers eligible for treatment using marijuana. Patients whose conditions qualify for marijuana become your customers, and your knowledge of their medical issues may help you provide quality service, whether you are cultivating, testing, dispensing or acting in some other capacity. The list of qualifying conditions is always changing, but a recent Medical Board meeting rejected proposals for adding two challenging conditions to those approved for marijuana prescriptions.
Rejected for eligibility
Some members of the Medical Board said it was too soon to approve medical marijuana prescriptions for anxiety or autism spectrum disorder, so they recently voted against including them on the list of eligible conditions. This may have shocked you, especially since 10 other states specifically name anxiety as a qualifying condition and 22 states grant prescriptions for marijuana to patients who have autism. Nevertheless, some of the reasons the Medical Board named include the following:
- Marijuana offers brief relief from the symptoms of anxiety but can ultimately exacerbate the condition and produce panic attacks in patients.
- Medical Board members were reluctant to add anxiety and autism to the list because they would not be able to remove the conditions if research proved marijuana to be ineffective for treating them.
- The government still lists marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance whose effects have not received adequate research.
- Some members of the Medical Board expressed concern over the potential for liver damage in patients using marijuana.
- The Medical Board wanted to wait for further studies on the impact of marijuana on children's brains.
As disappointed as you may have been for your patients and your business, you and others will have more opportunities in the future to recommend additional conditions for approval by the Medical Board. While you may understand the industry regulators' desire to move slowly and cautiously, it can certainly be frustrating to deal with so many legal roadblocks.
This is another reason why it is important that you understand the laws that regulate your area of the medical marijuana business and that you seek legal advice quickly if you have questions or concerns about compliance issues.