Ohio activates medical marijuana patient registry, but wait continues

The activation of Ohio’s medical marijuana patient registry this week means selected physicians can now begin inputting qualified patients and caregivers, but officials said the delayed program still won’t be fully implemented for months.

Prospective patients have already watched an initial Sept. 8 state deadline pass without product in dispensaries. That wait will continue, said Ali Simon, the public and policy affairs liaison with the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy.

“What’s important to recognize is — we’ve seen this in other states as well — it’s going to be a very small batch initially of medical marijuana made available,” she said. “But then as more and more cultivators have harvests, we’ll see more and more product reach the shelf into the early months of 2019.”

RELATED: Lawsuits, delays push back medical pot launch

Eric Alexander of Tipp City said the first thing he’s going to ask during a doctor’s appointment next week is how to get medical marijuana.

“If it would help, that would be great,” he said. “Because I want to get back outside again.”

Alexander woke up on his birthday in 2006 paralyzed. The paralysis went away but not the debilitating pain — especially in his feet — said Alexander, 58, who also has tumors running the length of his spine.

“I would just like to see if it would help me — that pain — or at least help me sleep at night,” he said.

But the doctor that visits Alexander will have to be one of about 300 currently certified by the state to recommend marijuana, which is the first step in becoming a registered patient.

Ohio dispensaries are allowed to sell 90-day supplies of medical marijuana as oils, tinctures, plant material, edibles and patches. Patients are allowed to vape plant material, but forbidden to light up.

RELATED: Here are all 21 health conditions that could qualify you for medical marijuana in Ohio

Patients must provide physicians like Dr. Oscar Cataldi Jr. of Fairborn who works for Ohio Marijuana Card with medical records showing they have one or more 21 qualifying conditions which include Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The registry in itself is valuable, it will help separate people who have gone through the process of authorized use of medical marijuana versus the people using it for recreational purposes,” Cataldi said.

Securing a doctor’s recommendation before signing onto Ohio’s Patient and Caregiver Registry is “something that gets lost in translation sometimes,” Simon said.

“They need to go to that physician’s office first,” she said.

The registry, which was activated on Monday, is the online portal where physicians with a certificate to recommend medical marijuana will register patients and caregivers. Following that, patients or caregivers will receive an email with instructions about how to complete the process and pay the annual registration fee of $50 for patients and $25 for caregivers. Veterans and low-income patients may be eligible for reduced fees.

MORE: Medical cannabis stores are coming to Ohio: 5 questions answered for you

The timing of the patient registry also affects the expiration of an affirmative defense that was placed in the law. An affirmative defense for certain criminal charges including knowingly obtaining, possessing, or using marijuana or knowingly using or possessing marijuana drug paraphernalia will expire on Feb. 1, 2019 or 60 days after the registry was activated.

As of Tuesday, none of the 56 entities granted provisional licenses to operate dispensaries has received final approval to sell product, Simon said.

Those 56 entities received provisional licenses from the board.

“We are working, though, to get those dispensaries open,” she said.

Reader Comments

Next Up in News

Before his death, man leaves girl, 2, Christmas gifts for the next 14 years
Before his death, man leaves girl, 2, Christmas gifts for the next 14 years

A man in Wales made sure he could bring Christmas cheer to a young neighbor long after his death. >> Read more trending news  Ken Watson, 87, died recently, but the family of 2-year-old Cadi Owens was shocked to learn that their elderly neighbor left Christmas presents to give their daughter for the next 14 years, the BBC reported....
Police: 6-month-old girl survives after dad admits trying to drown her in icy pond
Police: 6-month-old girl survives after dad admits trying to drown her in icy pond

Police in Missouri revived a 6-month-old baby found floating in an icy retention pond and arrested the child’s father, who said he had attempted to drown his daughter, KMBC reported. >> Read more trending news  Jonathon Stephen Zicarelli, 28, of Greenwood, is accused of first-degree domestic assault, the Kansas City...
Watch: Train crashes into tractor-trailer in Texas
Watch: Train crashes into tractor-trailer in Texas

The driver of a tractor-trailer that stalled on railroad tracks in a Texas town escaped injury when his vehicle was hit by a train Tuesday afternoon, KOSA reported. >> Read more trending news  According to Midland officials, the driver of the truck scrambled out of the train’s way in time and called 911, the television station...
Morning frost expected; warmer temperatures later in the day 
Morning frost expected; warmer temperatures later in the day 

Warmer than normal today Rain returns Thursday Rain may mix with snow showers Friday TODAY: A chilly morning with temperatures in the upper 20s and possible frost, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini. Sunshine early, and then increasing clouds through the day. Highs near 50 degrees, which is much warmer than normal. THURSDAY...
California woman charged after daughter, 8, killed by train
California woman charged after daughter, 8, killed by train

A California woman was arrested on felony child neglect charges Tuesday after her 8-year-old daughter was killed by a train near downtown Fresno, KFSN reported. >> Read more trending news  Joy Frances Collins, 44, had urged her daughter and 9-year-old son to cross the tracks Monday around 6 p.m. because they were trying to catch a bus...
More Stories