How Patients Can Enroll In Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program


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How Patients Can Enroll In Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program
How Patients Can Enroll In Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program

Watch a previous NBC4 report on Ohio’s legalization of cannabis in the video player above.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — While Ohio’s voter-approved initiative legalizing cannabis is now in effect, the state’s medical dispensaries remain operational and could begin selling recreational marijuana.

Issue 2, which voters passed Nov. 7 with 57% support, legalizes the sale, purchase and possession of cannabis for Ohioans who are 21 and older. However, unlike the abortion rights constitutional amendment that also passed, Issue 2 appeared on the ballot as an initiated statute — giving state lawmakers the final word.

Now, legislators at the Statehouse are negotiating how to alter the enactment of Issue 2 through two competing bills — House Bill 86, approved 28-2 in the Senate on Dec. 6, and House Bill 354, awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives.

Endorsed by Gov. Mike DeWine, H.B. 86 would allow for recreational sales at the state’s 114 medical dispensaries. Once passed by the House and signed into law, dispensaries would have to wait 90 days for the legislation to go into effect before selling could begin.

Still, H.B. 68 would permit the buying and selling much sooner than the process outlined in Issue 2. Under the initiated statute, the first sales cannot occur until the newly established Division of Cannabis Control completes the rulemaking and licensing processes. The division then has nine months to outline the criteria for certifying facilities.

As Statehouse negotiations continue, Ohio’s medicinal program is continuing to accept patients. Since the enactment of House Bill 523 legalizing medical marijuana in 2016, more than 403,000 patients have received an Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program card.

Visit an approved Ohio physician

Those in Ohio looking to enroll in the state’s medical marijuana program need to first visit a certified physician who can confirm they have a qualifying condition. The state medical board maintains a list of all Ohio licensed physicians who are certified to recommend medicinal cannabis, search the list here.

The medical board is also tasked with approving which ailments are eligible for medical marijuana. Earlier this year, the board unanimously approved IBS as a qualifying condition for the program, making it the 26th ailment on the list. The following conditions also apply:

  • AIDS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Pain that is chronic and severe or intractable
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Positive status for HIV
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Spasticity
  • Spinal cord disease or injury
  • Terminal illness
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis

Register within Ohio’s online portal

The licensed physician will then create the patient’s profile in the program’s “Patient and Caregiver Registry” and submit their proof of residency. If patients do not have a valid ID issued by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles with their current Ohio address, they must submit three of the forms of additional identification.

Once the patient has been approved for the program, patients will receive an activation email with a link to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program’s online portal. The link remains active for 90 days after receipt and it can only be accessed once. After clicking the link, patients will be prompted to create their registry password.

Submit registration fee, receive card

For a patient to activate their medicinal marijuana card, they will need to submit the $50 registration fee through the patient portal. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy no longer issues physical medical cannabis cards. Once patients pay their registration fee, they will be able to print their card and begin visiting dispensaries immediately.

A patient’s registration will be valid from the date of issuance and expire one year later, on the last day of the month it was issued. Patients must pay the $50 fee every year for a medical cannabis card.

Visit an Ohio dispensary

As soon as a patient prints their card, they can visit any state-licensed dispensary in Ohio. A patient and their designated caregiver may purchase up to a 90-day supply of medical cannabis products. This amount is dictated by the certifying physician.

There is no limit in Ohio to the number of dispensaries you can visit per day. However, dispensaries will have a record of how much medical cannabis a patient has purchased that day, and they will not dispense more than the state-allowed amount. Search the map of medicinal dispensaries here.

The following forms of medical marijuana are authorized: oils, tinctures, plant material, edibles, lotions, creams and patches. The law prohibits the use of medical marijuana by smoking or combustion but does allow for vaping. 

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