MDNews - Cleveland-Akron-Canton

July/August 2018

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MEDICAL MARIJUANA UPDATE — Implementation Is in Sight BY JOSEPH J. FELTES, JD WHAT BEGAN IN 2016 with the General Assembly's passing of House Bill 253 (Ohio's Medical Marijuana Law) now has its scheduled implementation date — September 8 — in sight. Well, almost. Construction setbacks due to Ohio's cold and wet winter, as well as delays in licensing marijuana growers, likely will push back the date for Ohio's medical cannabis program to become fully functional, despite the statutory deadline. Still, an increasing number of Ohio physicians are submitting applications on-line to the State Medica l Board of Ohio for a Certificate to Recommend marijuana under the Medica l Marijuana Control Program. As of June, 139 physicians (MDs and DOs) with unrestricted Ohio licenses, DEA registration, and OARRS access, who have taken the required CME, have been approved for Certificates to Recommend. Further applications, which may be submitted without cost though the Board's eLicense porta l, will be reviewed by the Board's licensure team and presented to the full Board for approval at each monthly meeting. Despite its lega lization, Ohio physicia ns ca nnot lega lly prescribe medical marijuana because federal law considers marijuana to be a Schedule I controlled substance. And, physi- cians cannot recommend marijuana until the Medical Marijuana Control Program is fully operational. That means the Department of Commerce must inspect and grant certificates of operation to Level I and Level II cultivators, processors and testing labs, and the Pharmacy Board must license marijuana retail dispensaries, as well as register and issue medical marijuana cards to patients. Once operational, certified physicians may recommend medi- cal marijuana to treat a list of 21 qualifying medical conditions: A IDS, a myotrophic latera l sclerosis, A lzheimer 's disea se, ca ncer, chronic traumatic encepha lopathy, Crohn's disease, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, f ibromya lg ia , glaucoma , hepatitis C, inf la mmator y bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic a nd severe or intractable pa in, Pa rkinson's disease, positive status of HI V, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette's syndrome, traumatic bra in injur y, a nd ulcerative colitis. That list is expected to grow, as the State Medica l Board has established November 1, 2018 through December 31, 2018 as the f irst submission period for petitions to add a qua lif ying medica l condition to the Medica l Marijuana Control Program. Petitions must include the specif ic disea se or condition requested to be added, information from experts who specia l- ize in the study of that disease or condition, releva nt medica l or scientif ic evidence, consideration whether conventiona l medica l therapies a re insuf f icient to treat or a lleviate the disea se or condition a nd other t y pes of medica l or scien- tif ic documentation, a s well a s letters of suppor t provided by physicia ns. For now, state regulators continue to push hard for a sustain- able supply of legalized medical marijuana to be available on or shortly after September 8 in order to help combat Ohio's opioid epidemic. Joe Feltes is an attorney with Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs in Canton, OH and a member of its Health & Medicine Practice Group. He is also the managing partner of Buckingham Canton. For more information about the law firm, go to or email Mr. Feltes at ■ M D N E W S . C O M /// M D N E W S C L E V E L A N D /A K R O N / C A N T O N ■ J U LY/A U G U S T 2 018 0 5

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