COLUMBUS, Ohio — If 2016 was the year medical marijuana became legal, 2017 will be the year we find out what that means.
Ohio’s medical marijuana law, signed in June and in effect since September, outlined the framework for a medical marijuana system. But the details — everything from how patients sign up for the program to how much marijuana businesses can grow — were left to three state agencies to work out.
The law requires rules and regulations for the program to be adopted by Sept. 8, 2017. The program must be operational by Sept. 8, 2018, but lawmakers were optimistic that could happen earlier.
Here are three things to watch for next year.
The rules process
Ohio’s law allows patients with one of 20 qualifying medical conditions to buy and use marijuana if an Ohio-licensed physician has recommended it.
But there are no stores from which to buy marijuana, no ID cards to prove a patient is qualified, no doctors officially certified to recommend marijuana and no one growing marijuana for legal sale in Ohio.
Here’s who is in charge of what:
Ohio Department of Commerce: Cultivators, processors how make and package marijuana products, testing labs Ohio State Board of Pharmacy: Dispensaries, patient and caregiver registry, how much marijuana patients can possess and how they can consume it Ohio State Medical Board: Certifying physicians, reviewing petitions to add qualifying medical conditions
Proposed rules will be revised several times in the first half of the year, first after review by the Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee, then the Common Sense Initiative and finally a legislative panel called the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. Public comment will be accepted at each step.
Ohioans for Medical Marijuana spokesman Aaron Marshall said there have been some positive aspects