The Washington Times reports on Ohio’s medical cannabis dilemma. After medical marijuana was legalized it raised so much confusion, that a committee will have to be formed to sort it out.
While Ohio’s medical marijuana program is being drafted, doctors are advised not to recommend medicinal cannabis to patients. This could take up to two years. The Ohio State Medical Board regulates all doctors, and said a “certificate to recommend” must be obtained by physicians before they can write recommendations. The only problem is that the rules for how these certificates will work still have to be written, and the board has two years to do so.
State Sen. Kenny Yuko, one of the law’s authors, queried the board, as according to him it is not the way the law is suppose to work. He made it clear the law spelled out “everything a physician would need to do to provide patients with this limited, short-term protection without having to wait for the agencies.” Yuko said that to prevent patients form having to wait two years, the law compromised by building in an affirmative defense section.
Lawyers can try
In the meantime lawyers can give patients and doctors guidance on how to navigate the law, what is permitted and how the law is implemented and relates to federal law. As the legal debate rages, the primary question remains: where can patients obtain marijuana legally?
Since cannabis is not yet legally grown in Ohio, the obvious place to look would be to states where it is legal. But not so fast, says the law. Cannabis products, even non psychoactive medical cannabis strains, may not cross state lines when produced in the US.
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Patients need help, not legislative tinkering
Ohio Cannabis Association Executive Director Brian Wright, called the bill misinformed, and said patients need help, not legislative tinkering.
Ohio’s commerce department and the medical and pharmacy boards, which will first and foremost create an advisory committee to design the program, will operate the state’s medical marijuana program.
The advisory committee is taking shape slowly, and Republican Gov. John Kasich made appointments last month. A Republican and Democrat from each chamber get to nominate appointees to make up the four legislative leaders.
Doctors and patients are frustrated
In the meantime no one can blame cannabis doctors for being frustrated as the nitty gritty boils down to the fact that they could be suspended or even lose their licenses if they violate federal law, and state law does not as yet protect them.
Maybe physicians in Ohio would be wiser to wait until the almost-appointed advisory committee has sorted out this epic confusion, but two years is a long time to wait.