What’s Approved for a Medical Marijuana Card? How Can You Add Conditions? Read On…

MM card Releaf Health

You probably already know that medical marijuana (MM) has been legal in Ohio since 2016. At this time, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy launched the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) thanks to the passing of Ohio House Bill 523. Today’s 21 medical conditions are approved for treatment with medical marijuana in our state – the list spans everything from AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease to HIV, PTSD, and much more. You can find the full list here.  

But, you may not know that the Ohio Marijuana Control Program now also allows citizens to petition to add additional medical conditions to the current list! Each year the state of Ohio opens up a petition page so that patients can apply. During the 2019 petition period, the State panel considered adding anxiety, autism spectrum disorder, and cachexia – a disease that causes a loss of appetite related to HIV – to the list.

One new approved condition in 2020 – Autism and anxiety didn’t make the cut

So what was the result? The committee recently reviewed the conditions and accepted public comment on these conditions from early February to March 1, 2020. They announced they approved cachexia during the board’s July 2020 meeting, but unfortunately, the committee rejected Autism and anxiety. Last year, the board also rejected Autism and anxiety, plus three other illnesses. 

While some autism groups in Ohio voiced their support for adding Autism to the qualifying list, opposing recommendations came from spokespeople from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association. One group advocating for the petition came from the lobbying group called the Mother’s Advocating for Medical Marijuana for Autism (MAMMA). 

What are the steps for adding conditions? 

Do you think more medical conditions should be added? Work on your petition! As touched on earlier, the petition process is relatively straightforward. Still, you do need to be aware of the rules. Here’s a recap so you can be prepared. 

  • When’s the next petition period? The next petition period opens November 1, 2020, and closes on December 31, 2020. Petitions need to be filed electronically through the state’s MMCP website.
  • What’s needed in the petition? According to the bylaws of the program, individuals need to include the following information in their petition. 
    • Your name and contact information
    • Specific disease or condition requested 
    • Information from experts who specialize in the study of the disease or condition
    • Relevant medical or scientific evidence
    • Consideration of whether conventional medical therapies are insufficient to treat or alleviate the disease or condition
    • Evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana to treat or help the illness or condition and other types of medical or scientific documentation
    • Letters of support provided by physicians
  • Who reviews? Petitions that meet requirements are checked by subject matter experts, including physicians who specialize in the named conditions. The review committee may also include experts who have experience with medical marijuana programs in other states. 
  • What happens after the review? The MMCP review panel reviews the petitions and the subject matter experts’ reports before making a decision. Then, they make a recommendation to the full board for a vote, which is scheduled for July. Here they adopt or deny the petition to add the qualifying conditions. 
  • Where can I find out more information? As we get closer to the petition dates, the information will be posted on the MMCP website – on the petition page. You can also sign up to receive emails about the program and update important upcoming dates and information. 

Stay informed and active

Since Ohio’s MMCP has been fully functional, it’s clear that the state is committed to a transparent process when it comes to certified cannabis. The public’s involvement also goes a long way in setting our community and medical marijuana standards. We also see that medical marijuana support is only growing in our state – especially since the state’s dispensaries were deemed essential during the statewide coronavirus’s shutdown in the spring. Even before the pandemic, MM sales multiplied. According to the Dayton Daily News and the Ohio Department of Commerce, May 2019 saw about $2.2 million in MM sales. Then, sales jumped from $7.7 million in February 2020 to $12.9 million in March 2020! People are finding the program helpful!

Do you have questions about the MMCP petition process? Or do you want to learn more about obtaining a medical marijuana card in Ohio? Read our last post or schedule an in-person or telemedicine appointment today! At Releaf Health Clinic, we’ll walk you through the whole MM process, so you’re comfortable and well-informed.

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