Is Medical Marijuana Legal In Ohio?
Medical marijuana has been legal in Ohio ever since the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program was established following Ohio House Bill 523, signed into law in fall of 2016.
However, at the time of the bill's signing, a mere 21 medical conditions were approved for treatment with medical marijuana. Though the list is fairly comprehensive, it leaves out common ailments treatable with MMJ, like insomnia, anxiety, and depression.
Thankfully, Ohio's medical marijuana law did factor that patients might want to add more medical conditions to the current list. As a result, each year the State of Ohio will open a petition page so that patients can apply to have more medical conditions added. The petition period for 2019 will take place from November 1st - December 31st.
What Medical Conditions Qualify for Medical Marijuana in Ohio?
In order to obtain an Ohio medical marijuana card, Ohio residents must first have documented evidence they are suffering from one of the 21 qualifying medical conditions. These medical conditions were established by the State Medical Board of Ohio.
At current, these health conditions include the following (click on each condition for a more detailed description):
Patients who determine that they qualify for medical marijuana must then see a doctor certified by the state to legally recommend medical marijuana to patients. The doctor will review your previous medical records and perform a brief, non-invasive examination in order to determine that you do, in fact, qualify for medical marijuana treatment.
Once a certified doctor has determined that you qualify for Ohio medical marijuana, they will write a recommendation letter which is sent to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. Once this letter is received, the patient will receive an email from a "no-reply-pmpaware" email address where the patient can electronically pay the $50 registration fee to the Board of Pharmacy, or $25 for any patients that qualify under Indigent or Veteran status. Once the State fee is paid the patient will be submitted to the Patient Registry system which is used by cannabis entities to confirm your active medical marijuana card. Once the patient has been entered into the Patient Registry they will be able to download an official Ohio medical marijuana card, or can access it digitally through a smartphone.
This card grants patients a theoretical "Affirmative Defense" against criminal charges. Though this affirmative defense is not foolproof, it does grant some legal protections in a courtroom. The medical marijuana card also allows patients to access dispensaries, and to purchase, obtain and transport Ohio medical marijuana. At current, there is no reciprocity between Ohio and other states with established medical marijuana programs, so buying MMJ in other states is strictly prohibited. Ohio has also banned smoking marijuana, though the State has no real way of enforcing the rule.
Will Anxiety and Autism Be Eligible for Medical Marijuana in Ohio?
For a period of 60 days each year, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program will consider new qualifying conditions. They have established the following criteria in order to have a new medical condition added to their list. The 2019 period for petitioning began November 1, 2019 and will end on December 31, 2019.
They criteria for applying are as follows:
Name and contact information
Specific disease or condition requested to be added
Information from experts who specialize in the study of the disease or condition
Relevant medical or scientific evidence
Consideration of whether conventional medical therapies are insufficient to treat or alleviate the disease or condition
Evidence supporting the use of medical marijuana to treat or alleviate the disease or condition and other types of medical or scientific documentation
Letters of support provided by physicians
How Do I Find My Ohio Government Representatives?
Before you start, you are going to need to find all of your local representatives. Each city has local government officials, and though many support marijuana legalization, many also do not. It is helpful to know which government officials are on your side with this issue, and which are not.
Even if a rep is pro-marijuana, that does not mean they know about the recent CBD ruling, or even know much about Ohio's medical marijuana laws, and therefore -- once educated -- they could be an even greater voice for the cause. Some politicians may not support marijuana, be it medical or recreational, but do support industrial hemp as a farming issue, so don't rule out contacting someone who may be anti-pot.
The Cannabis Voter Project has compiled a comprehensive website that lets voters know exactly where their politicians stand on the issue of marijuana. This resource would be a good starting point for seeing where your locals reps stand. Click here to give that a look to see where your local reps stand. You can also register to vote there, if you haven't already.
There is also this handy utility to search for your reps. This website combines all sections of government and allows you to search each branch individually, from federal government all the down to state and city.
Once you have phone numbers, emails and addresses for your reps in hand, it's time to reach out!
How To Call Ohio Politicians About Marijuana
If you are feeling ambitious, you can call your representative. Sometimes, you will get to speak with a secretary, intern or office manager. Sometimes, if you are really lucky, you will even get through to your local representative. Usually, however, you will be sent to voicemail. State your name, your address and the specific issue to which you are calling.
Always be mindful that your reps are (generally) decent people dedicated to serving the people, and they are very busy individuals. As such, be respectful and courteous, even if you vehemently disagree with their political stance. State why you feel CBD should be legal in Ohio, for example. Or tell a story about how CBD, THC or medical marijuana has helped you with your life, and why you feel Ohioans deserve pro-marijuana legislation.
You can also use this website to call your representatives quickly and easily, or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 if you already know your representative's name.
How To Email Ohio Politicians About Marijuana
If email is your preferred method of communication, by all means, send your representatives an email! Once again, always try and be respectful, even if the political stance of the person you are emailing is not the same as your position. Express why you feel the way you do. Tell a story, a testimonial. Talk about why you feel Ohioans deserve CBD legality, recreational marijuana, or looser regulations for medical marijuana.
And remember, a person can explain his/her position with more conviction and understanding when they are not shouting or ALL CAPSING their views, or looking down on others for their opposing views. No one likes to be called stupid or dumb, so refrain from language that would disqualify your positive passion for the position.
Clearly state your name, address and a positive statement of support for pro-CBD or pro-legalization measures in your email. A little kindness goes a long way!
How To Send A Formal Letter to Ohio Politicians About Marijuana
You may also draft a formal letter and send it off to your representative. This method, quite naturally, is very slow moving as each piece of mail must be examined thoroughly to prevent harm.
This method can often count more to a representative because of the extra time and effort that goes into a formal letter.
Once again, draft your response with compassion rather than anger, and appeal to a politician's better instincts (survival in an election season, for example).
Tell a story about someone you know who has been positively effected by marijuana use. State why you feel pro-CBD or pro-cannabis legislation should be passed immediately.
Can I Help Legalize Marijuana in Ohio?
Yes! Absolutely, you can! The most difficult political battles throughout history were each hard fought with the blood, sweat, tears and undying passion of this country's great citizens, so speak out and let your voice be heard!
The more people who reach out to their local politicians, the higher probability a politician will make pro-marijuana legislation part of their political platform, so don't shy. Contact your state reps and local government today and become an important part of the marijuana movement.