The state of medical marijuana in Ohio and the path to legalization - What you need to know

The state of medical marijuana in Ohio and the path to legalization – What you need to know

Medical marijuana is an increasingly popular and natural alternative therapy for relieving pain, improving mood, and promoting sleep. Many users also report that medical marijuana can ease discomfort from many severe conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, Parkinson’s, MS, and much more. 

Medical Marijuana in Ohio

In Ohio, we’re fortunate to have the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP) and the State Medical Board of Ohio (SMBO) which permits marijuana for specific purposes. These agencies have outlined 22 qualifying conditions for obtaining a medical marijuana (MM) card in Ohio. In fact, as of July 8, the SMBO added Cachexia – a condition that causes extreme weight and muscle loss – to its list of qualifying MM conditions. 

Medical marijuana – ins and outs

What do you need to know about medical marijuana in Ohio? Read on.

  • Marijuana is legal for specific purposes in several states – Currently, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. However, there are 33 states, and the District of Columbia, that have laws permitting marijuana use for specific purposes. As noted early, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program and the State Medical Board of Ohio have approved certain conditions. 
  • In Ohio, only doctors approved by the SMBO can recommend medical marijuana – Marijuana is permitted for medicinal use only for patients in Ohio who are prescribed cannabis by a doctor. Only doctors approved by the SMBO are allowed to recommend medical marijuana. Following state law, doctors must review patient’s prescriptions over the past month and discuss the risks and benefits of treating their conditions with certified cannabis. Releaf Health Clinic offers in-person and telemedicine appointments with certified physicians to determine if patients qualify for a medical marijuana card. 
  • Registration – Once approved for a medical marijuana card in Ohio, physicians submit information to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program for processing. Patients then receive an email from the OMMCP with instructions on how to register, activate, and receive their card, which is valid for one year. Certified medical marijuana cards can then be downloaded and saved digitally on a smartphone. Registry cards and photo IDs are then needed to purchase cannabis at a licensed Ohio dispensary. 

Non-medical marijuana in Ohio – Is there a path to legalization? 

The option for medical marijuana is excellent for those patients in Ohio who need natural treatment options now. But, the question remains, what about non-medical cannabis? Is there a path to legalization in place? What do I need to know? 

Expanding marijuana decriminalization to cover 200 grams

In June 2020, the Ohio Senate passed a bill reducing criminal penalties for many drug crimes and doubling the amount of marijuana that is decriminalized – decriminalization now covers 200 grams. Senate Bill 3 (SB3) reclassifies some low-level drug offenses from felonies to misdemeanors, seals certain drug records, and more. The ordinance eliminates any fines or jail time for anyone possessing under 200 grams of marijuana. Under the new law, in Ohio, those convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession would not be required to report the citation on “any inquiries contained in any application for employment, license, or other right or privilege,” the charge appears on a criminal record.

Changes on the horizon

Before the July bill, existing Ohio law classified possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana as a minor misdemeanor, which was penalized with citations of $150. When asked about the bill, Senate President Larry Obhof stressed the bill’s importance in clarifying how the law treats individuals with small amounts of possession that are clearly for personal use. 

“I think the overarching goal of the bill is to take small amounts of possession that are clearly for personal use and make that a misdemeanor. That’s really been one of the bigger sticking points over the last year as we’ve considered this. What is really the right amount for personal use versus at what number do we then say, ‘You’re not really using this. You’re a trafficker.’ We’re trying to work that out.”  Senate President Larry Obhof 

Your future looks bright

Do you have more questions? Or do you want help understanding medical marijuana rules in our state? At Releaf Health Clinic, we have a knowledgeable staff and qualified physicians who take a personal, consultative approach to marijuana medicine. We also offer a one-of-a-kind medical marijuana telemedicine program that is the simplest, quickest, and most convenient way to obtain a medical marijuana card. Get in touch! Email or schedule an appointment with us today! 

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