Ohio’s medical marijuana program is scheduled to go live in September 2018, although lawsuits abound currently on multiple issues. Approximately 40 Ohio-licensed physicians now possess the required credentials through the State Medical Board of Ohio to recommend (i.e., prescribe) medical marijuana to their patients once the program commences.
Prior to obtaining a certificate to recommend medical marijuana and/or actually recommending medical marijuana to patients, physicians (and their employers) should consider a variety of issues, including the list of issues set out below.
Although medical marijuana is now legal in Ohio, it remains illegal under federal law.
1. Because medical marijuana is illegalunder federal law, we cannot predict with certainty how the recommendation of medical marijuana to a patient could eventually impact a physician’s U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration and/or participation in federal health care programs, such as Medicare or Ohio Medicaid. Developments in these areas should be closely monitored going forward. Importantly, recreational marijuana remains illegal in Ohio.
2. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recognize medical marijuana as an approved treatment for any medical condition. The extent to which medical marijuana and attendant physician services may be paid for by any third party payor remains in question.
As is the case with most all health care regulatory matters, all aspects of Ohio’s medical marijuana industry, including the physician recommendation process, is highly-regulated.
3. Ohio has established a highly-regulated system for the growth, processing, dispensing, and recommending of medical marijuana. Any physician recommendation for medical marijuana must fully comply with these established rules and procedures. Failure to comply could put the physician’s certificate to recommend at risk and potentially implicate other collateral consequences professionally.