COLUMBUS, Ohio — The owner of Washington D.C.’s first medical marijuana dispensary has some advice for Ohioans: Expect the state’s medical marijuana program to change.
Retired Reform Rabbi Jeffrey Kahn said it’s taken years for the capital’s program to become what it is today, and rules will evolve with scientific research, patient needs and industry changes.
“No matter how the laws and regulations seem in the beginning, some that look like they will work great won’t and some that look like they won’t work will,” Kahn said.
Ohio lawmakers last year set up the framework for a strictly regulated medical marijuana program to serve patients with one of 20 medical conditions if recommended by a physician. Three state agencies are now determining the details, such as who will qualify to grow and sell marijuana and how much marijuana patients will be able to buy.
Kahn was a congregational rabbi for 30 years before opening a dispensary in 2013 with his wife, a former hospital administrator. Their Takoma Wellness Center is the largest dispensary in D.C., serving 1,500 patients.
Kahn will be in Cuyahoga Falls March 25 for an event sponsored by TDCANN Institute, a Northeast Ohio-based consulting firm. TDCANN founder Theresa Daniello said the event will focus on education more than how to start a marijuana business and is geared toward patients, health care professionals, law enforcement officials and community leaders.
Kahn talked with cleveland.com ahead of his Ohio visit. Here’s some of what he had to say.
(Answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.)
Q: Why did you decide to open a dispensary?
A: My late father-in-law had Multiple Sclerosis for over 50 years. He spent decades seeking a cure and ways to manage his symptoms. He tried everything from snake venom to dangerous pharmaceuticals he had to go into rehab