No Breaks For The Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee
Learn the latest updates to Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Bill HB523
Welcome again OhioCannabis.com Readers!
It is almost time for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Advisory committee has stopped working. On Thursday December 15th, 2016, OhioCannnabis.com and I attended a meeting held at Vern Riffle Center in Columbus. This meeting covered physician, dispensary, & cultivation laws while touching on many other issues like the seed to sale app.
When I first walked into the meeting, the committee members were already in deep discussion about the physician part of Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Bill. Just like last meeting, it was mentioned that physicians will have to complete a course in order to recommend medication. The committee also explained that even though they are still working out the details, there will be a suffix on the physician's license that will be identify the doctor as one who is licensed to recommend medical marijuana. However, whether they will have a book or type of directory that will identify them as cannabis recommending doctors is yet to be determined. Laws will also require an in person visit to get a medical marijuana recommendation. You can watch the full 13 part segment in our video section.
After finishing up the Physician discussion, the meeting broke for lunch and Tim Johnson once again proved that he has the best taste in restaurants that side of Columbus. Tim brought us to Graze Columbus, which is neatly tucked within Ohio’s State House. We dined on a wide variety of dishes, with myself deciding upon a fantastic chicken wrap that featured fresh quinoa and vegetables along with adobe like chicken.
Our table which included Tim and his wife Wendy, OhioCannnabis.com crew, and hopeful future Stem Dispensaries owner, discussed the progression of the meeting and an upcoming conference called: The Cannabis Impact: Opportunities, Issues, and Challenges for Ohio This event will include Tim and some other Ohio cannabis superstars as a part of the line up on February 4th, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio. This conference will be hosted by Theresa Daniello, founder of TDCANN Institute.
Theresa Daniello is a cannabis expert that has traveled throughout the country, who was able to join us at our table before dessert. She was able to give us a deeper look into one of the speakers that will be coming to the event in February. His name is Don E. Wirtshafter Esq. and he seems to be a hidden gem among canna-enthusiasts. As he is Director of Cannabis Museum, he holds the key to several cannabis and hemp artifacts in the palm of his hand and will be presenting some of this information at Theresa’s event in February. I was also able to get a sneak preview of the museum by Tim Johnson, and cannot tell Ohio Cannabis Insiders how excited I am to speak to rack this man’s brain.
After we finished lunch we ventured back over to the meeting and took our seats. This time around, committee members went deeper within dispensary laws as well as explaining how they reached their conclusions. To much surprise of the audience, it was announced that there were to be only 40 dispensaries to start out with for Ohio’s 88 counties. Each will have a biennial (every 2 years) fee of $80,000 for the license and an application fee of $5,000. Remind you that an annual pharmacy license remains at only $1,000.00.
The current rules as they are written, will also make it impossible for patients, whether in hospice or critical care, to have their medication transported to them. When asked if drugs like morphine and other pharmaceuticals are able to be transported, the panel members replied yes. There was talk of possibly allowing patients to receive medicine at their homes with doctor recommendation, however as it stands, this will STILL NOT BE ALLOWED.
On a brighter note, before closing, the committee brought news that cultivation centers will be expanded. Tier 1 Grow Sites would be increased from 15,000 to to 25,000 square feet while Tier 2 Grow Sites would be increased from 1,600 to 3,000 square feet.
Closing comments were met with mixed feelings by advisory members, stating that strict rules will make it that much harder to get participation from physicians. With 45% out of 3,000 doctors surveyed already saying they will be unlikely to recommended, this could be a huge blow to Ohio’s Medical Plan. It was also mentioned that closing down additional revenue streams such as t-shirts, hats & vaporizers in dispensaries will make it challenging for them to stay afloat and in turn cause the system to fail.
Regardless of the likelihood of this system's success, there is one person that seems to be the shining star for patients and asking the tough questions that will get us to where we need to be - James “Ted” Bibart. A legislative analyst whose studies state medical marijuana laws for Benesch Attorneys at Law, would be that person. Not only was I impressed by the way he handled himself but also by the way he directed the meeting to get back on task when it seemed to get down one of the committees endless loop questions.
The next meeting should be in January, so before then I encourage you and all my OhioCannabis.com readers to let your state know what you think about these rules by visiting their public comment page. Once again, this is Tia Marie Trees and I hope you have a fantastic day.
Until Next Time,
Tia Marie Trees