Ohio lawmakers passed legislation to legalize medical marijuana this past May. State Governor, John Kasich, signed the bill into law one month later. The bill’s enactment will spawn a heavily regulated program that will take at least an entire year to coordinate.
Details About Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Legislation
The Ohio Department of Commerce, Ohio’s Board of Pharmacy and the State Medical Board will control Ohio’s medical marijuana program. Those who obtain a script from their doctor for medical marijuana will not be allowed to smoke it or grow in in their home. Rather, they will be forced to vaporize their medical marijuana.
Which Ohioans Qualify for Medical Marijuana?
Merely suffering from the occasional headache or slight arthritis will not be enough to qualify one for a medical marijuana script. The legislation lists specific conditions that qualify a patient for the powerful painkiller. Examples of qualifying conditions include glaucoma, fibromyalgia, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, sickle cell anemia, ulcerative colitis and epilepsy/seizure disorders. The door is open for patients to petition the Ohio Medical Board to tack on additional conditions in the future.
Why Can’t I Smoke or Grow Medical Marijuana?
Lawmakers have stated that they never considered legalizing the smoking or growing of medical marijuana. Their logic is that medicine should not be smoked. However, qualified patients are allowed to consume medical marijuana through a vaporizer. According to The Columbus Dispatch, Ohioans will be permitted to consume medical marijuana in the form of “… edible products, vaporizing and in lotions and patches…”
Doctors’ Role in Ohio’s Medical Marijuana
Doctors who would like to write recommendations that allow patients to access medical marijuana must first register with the state. They will be required to complete a cannabis education program before they are permitted to recommend medical marijuana to patients. Each patient will require written permission from a qualifying doctor before indulging in the powerful substances.
Will Using Medical Marijuana Lead to the Termination of my Employment?
Unfortunately, patients can be fired for using medical marijuana. Though numerous states have passed medical marijuana legislation, the plant is still illegal on the federal level. Judicial precedent has been established for employers to legally terminate employees for using medical marijuana, even if they used marijuana when off the job.
When Will Medical Marijuana be Legal in Ohio?
The letter of the law states that it could be two full years until Ohio’s medical marijuana program is up and running. However, those who have obtained written permission from a qualified doctor will be able to use the plant as soon as September. The only problem is that Ohio dispensaries will not open their doors for another year or so. Those who are in desperate need of medical marijuana will have to take a trip to another state where medical/recreational marijuana has been legalized. Some of Ohio’s pain-sufferers will inevitably resort to the black market until Ohio’s dispensaries are up and running.