What's up with the dispensaries?
If you have been following Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Program at all, you know that the state of Ohio has failed to get its marijuana dispensaries open on time. There are many reasons for this and, although it’s frustrating, I think it is better to move slow when it comes to making sure that medical marijuana is grown well, processed reliably, and sold appropriately. It is baffling, however, that it has taken greater than 2 years to make it happen.
Currently, in Ohio, medical marijuana is legal but unavailable for purchase. I am not aware of any law that allows Ohio residents to legally purchase marijuana in other states and return to Ohio with their purchase.
Furthermore, the patient registry is not operational yet, which will be the online site were patients can download their medical marijuana card once they have seen their physician. There is no official process of generating a temporary card.
According to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program representative that I spoke with recently, the patient registry will open 60 days prior to the dispensaries. No date has yet been set for the opening of the dispensaries and I could not talk her into giving me a well educated guess for when it would happen.
What does this mean for medical marijuana doctors and patients? We are continuing to see patients and evaluate them for medical marijuana use. We will submit their information to the registry as soon as it is operational, guaranteeing that they will have a card as quickly as they are available. Your card is valid for one year from when it is issued, so there is not a penalty for seeing a physician prior to the opening of the registry or dispensaries. There may be some advantage to having a card early, as other states have consistently and dramatically underestimated the initial demand for medical marijuana.
We continue to follow the progress of medical marijuana in Ohio closely and will post updates as they are available. If you have questions, please contact us.