Once a month, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program hosts a meeting to outline the program's overall progress, grant approvals to cultivators, doctors, testers and processors, and discuss other news related to the medical marijuana industry.
The OMMCP is the organization through which the entire medical marijuana program functions in Ohio. This organization is a partnership between the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy, the State Medical Board of Ohio, and the Ohio Department of Commerce.
The latest meeting was held on September 13, 2018. Here are a few interesting highlights from that meeting:
Rough Audit for the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program
The Ohio Medical Marijuana Program's commerce wing, the Department of Commerce, also received an extensive audit by David Yost (who is coincidentally running for Ohio attorney general). The audit concluded that the State did a below average job with their license scoring sheets, and with protecting passwords, among other dings.
“The department didn’t do a very good job launching this program,” Yost said. “It did not exercise due diligence to make sure Ohioans could have complete confidence in the process. The department’s work was sloppy. Ohioans deserved better.”
The Department of Commerce, quite naturally, disagreed with the audit results, but told many news outlets that there was certainly room for improvement.
You can read a rundown of the full audit report by clicking here.
More Qualifying Conditions?
The first submission period for adding new qualifying conditions to Ohio's list of approved medical conditions has been slated for November 1, 2018. This submission period will last until December 31, 2018. In the meantime, a committee has been formed to find and approve experts who could research and verify qualifying condition applications.
This is perhaps the most exciting piece of news for potential medical marijuana patients as many conditions commonly in other states' medical marijuana programs -- conditions like sleep issues, IBS, insomnia, anxiety and depression -- could be added.
The current list has long been criticized by those in the industry for its missing medical conditions. It has also been criticized for having rather odd approved condition, CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy), which cannot be diagnosed until the patient has died.
This new review process would open the doors for literally thousands of suffering Ohioans would are seeking alternatives to traditional prescription medications, many of which has dangerous, harmful or negative side effects.
In order to receive a recommendation for medical marijuana, patients must first see a doctor certified to recommend cannabis. This doctor looks over your medical records and determines if you qualify for medical marijuana. Once they do, the doctor will write an official recommendation. This rec letter is sent to the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy, who then registers a patient (once the registration system is active) for their medical marijuana card.
Ohio Marijuana Card already offers our patients a dedicated, knowledgeable team of certified doctors, located throughout the entire state, but we are always on the lookout for new doctors and new offices to best serve our patients. After all, as Ohio's medical marijuana industry gets moving, more Ohioans will be interested in booking their appointments. During the latest Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program meeting, 71 more doctors were certified and approved to recommend medical marijuana in Ohio. That brings the total doctors now certified to 293!
In order for a doctor to become certified by the state to recommend marijuana, doctors must comply with the following rules:
Hold an active, unrestricted MD or DO license from the State Medical Board of Ohio and active registration with the drug enforcement administration
Participate in continuing education in the cannabis field by completing an annual Certified Medical Marijuana (cannabis expertise) course
Complete an application to obtain a Certificate to Recommend (CTR) from the State Medical Board of Ohio
If the applying doctor is compliant with Ohio regulations, they will be certified, allowing them to recommend medical marijuana to qualifying patients.
As noted above, doctors and healthcare professionals seeking certification must also complete an extensive cannabis expertise course to show they have a comprehensive understanding of medical marijuana. These annual courses can range between two and four hours, and cover a variety of topics, including:
A history of medical cannabis
Understanding the endocannabinoid system
Phytocannabinoid pharmacology, toxicology, addiction and the side effects of medical cannabis and its constituents
Recommending cannabis as a medicine: dosing and delivery
Assessing the risks and benefits of cannabinoid therapy with individual patients and identifying good candidates for treatment
Clinical indications: chronic pain, spasticity, seizures and PTSD
How to create specific cannabis or cannabinoid treatment plans for patients
Legal information, both federal and state rules, regulations and laws
Reciprocity Between States
The OMMCP also opened discussion with other states about reciprocity between medical marijuana programs. What this means is that a patient would be able to travel to another state that has a medical marijuana program and be authorized to purchase product there without any legal ramifications.
As the law currently stands it is illegal under federal law to cross state borders to buy medical marijuana from a dispensary. This means that even if a dispensary accepts a patient's Ohio medical marijuana doctor recommendation (or marijuana card), the police could still confiscate the weed at the state border.
Reciprocity would allow patients who have been granted special waivers to be able to travel state lines and purchase medical marijuana, legally(ish). Cannabis is still illegal under federal law, but offering some border reciprocity will help patients who are not within driving distance from an Ohio medical marijuana dispensary. Click the map above to see where the dispensaries will eventually be located.
As always, Ohio Marijuana Card will keep you up to date on all Ohio medical marijuana news so that customers, patients, readers and medical marijuana advocates can remain well-informed on the subject. In the meantime, find out if you qualify for a medical marijuana card in Ohio.