As of September 8, 2016, it is legal for Ohio residents with certain medical conditions to use non-smoking forms of medical marijuana when recommended by an eligible physician. Once the law is fully effective, eligible patients will be able to obtain medical marijuana at state-licensed dispensaries. However, it will take several months from the effective date of the law for dispensaries to open. In September 2018, the program will be fully operational.
What forms of medical marijuana are permitted in Ohio?
Several forms of medical marijuana are legal in Ohio. They are:
- Inhalation of marijuana through a vaporizer (not direct smoking)
- Plant material
- Any other forms approved by the State Board of Pharmacy
What conditions qualify for medical marijuana use in the State of Ohio?
Qualifying medical conditions for medical marijuana are specified in the law as:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
- Crohn’s disease
- Epilepsy or other seizure disorder
- Hepatitis C
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Pain: either chronic, severe, or intractable (difficult to manage)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Sickle cell anemia
- Spinal cord disease or injury
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Ulcerative colitis
In order for a patient to be eligible to obtain medical marijuana, a physician must make the diagnosis of one of these conditions.
Medical marijuana is not appropriate for all patients with these conditions. The best person to talk with about your personal health and the risks and benefits of medical marijuana is your physician.
What else do I need to know about the medical marijuana law?
- The law prohibits smoking medical marijuana or growing it at home.
- Recreational use of marijuana is still illegal in Ohio.
- Patients wanting to use medical marijuana must apply to the State Board of Pharmacy for a registration card. The application must be submitted on their behalf by a physician approved by the Ohio State Medical Board who possesses a certificate to recommend medical marijuana. Only those physicians who obtain this certificate will be eligible to recommend medical marijuana. The application must show that the patient has been diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition, and that a physician-patient relationship exists.
- There are significant long- and short-term risks of marijuana use, including with medical marijuana. You should speak with your physician to understand both the risks and the possible benefits of medical marijuana for you.
- Even if medical marijuana was recommended by a doctor, the new Ohio law does not prevent employers from taking action if an employee violates the company’s drug policy against marijuana use.
Be sure to talk to your doctor/healthcare provider if you have any questions about the new law or uses of medical marijuana.