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  • Alec Chenkus

Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Commitee Loses Most Vocal Patient Advocate

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Patient Advocate Removed from Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee
Ohio House Speaker removes Patient Advocate from Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee

It is with disappointment that I write today about the removal of Bob Bridges from the Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee (OMMAC), the group responsible for making recommendations on Ohio's Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP) to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.

Bob Bridges Removed from Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee
Bob Bridges, Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee Patient Advocate

According to the Columbus Dispatch, Bridges was sent a letter this Tuesday by the Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder declaring that he was being removed from his position on the OMMAC. The letter did not cite a reason, and a Householder spokeswoman told the Dispatch that "she needed to research the issue before she could comment."

While the Ohio Revised Code allows for certain members of the Ohio Senate and the Ohio House of Representatives to appoint and remove committee members, this is the first time that a representative from the OMMAC has been removed.

Bridges served as the OMMAC's most vocal representative and advocate for patient rights. Time after time, Bridges was responsible for bringing attention to many of the issues that Ohio medical marijuana patients have faced as this program is established. Bridges ensured that he always had his ear to the ground, identifying issues in Ohio's program so that efforts could be made to resolve them.

Bob Bridges Providing Testimony for Medical Marijuana in Ohio
Bob Bridges provides testimony to the Medical Marijuana Task Force in Ohio

Bridges himself has confirmed the tension he faced within OMMAC, and the OMMCP at large, frequently raising concerns such as patient protections and limitations in Ohio's program that are negatively impacting patients. Bridges told the Columbus Dispatch, "What really kicked them in the shins was when I came out and said that the program wasn't going to launch on time."

If Bridges is correct in his beliefs surrounding his removal, this would be a concerning perspective from the State: removing members for, essentially, being too honest and transparent. Especially as a lack of transparency has been one of the most significant, if not the most significant, issue that many patients have faced in the start of Ohio's program.

As Bob Bridges stated as he learned of the removal:

Every part of this program revolves around patients. We don't have a program without the patients, so I was going to be vocal.

While we are disappointed in the removal of Bridges from the OMMAC, we would like to thank him for his efforts and initiatives to help create a medical marijuana program that works for all patients in Ohio. While Bridges may no longer have the same platform within the OMMCP, his vision of protecting and improving patient's lives is one that will continue to be echoed as Ohio's medical marijuana program progresses to a level that is successful for ALL patients.


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Ohio Marijuana Card

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