Photo by Katheirne Hitt.
Medical marijuana enthusiasts in the Buckeye State have a reason to celebrate this week: House Bill 523 will go into effect Sept. 8, ushering in a new era of medicinal cannabis use in Ohio.
The bill authorizes the use of medicinal cannabis for Ohioans who meet the qualifying standards; some qualifying medical conditions include cancer, AIDS, and Parkinson’s disease. Patients will need to apply to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy for a registration card through a certified physician.
Recreational use of cannabis is still illegal under Ohio law. Marijuana remains classified federally as a Schedule I drug, and questions and concerns about medicinal cannabis’ future remain.
Smoking marijuana, even for medical purposes, will remain prohibited under state law. Vaporizing cannabis, consuming edibles and oils, and using patches will be permitted, provided it is not marketed attractively to children (following concerns in other states over the drug’s appearance).
Dispensaries must be at least 500 feet away from any church, school, playground or library.
State law continues to prohibit the private cultivation of marijuana for any purpose, medical or otherwise. Patients should expect to be able to possess up to a 90 days’ supply of marijuana at any one time legally, though the Ohio Board of Pharmacy is continuing to develop the appropriate rules and bureaucracy necessary to carry out this quasi-legalization across the state.
The necessary certification to receive and use medicinal marijuana will continue to evolve over time as the Medical Board of Ohio adds diseases and conditions that qualify. With the current bill, regulations regarding marijuana dispensaries and its cultivation are all but absent, and the board has until Sept. 8, 2017, to complete its list of rules.
While some continue to hold doubts about the