On September 8, 2018, Ohio's medical marijuana law went into effect. It resulted from the passage of House Bill 523 in May that year and created the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program.

Read 'Mary Jane's Guide to HB 534' here.

HB 523: What kind of protections are accorded patients and caregivers?

  • A registered patient shall not be subject to arrest or criminal prosecution for obtaining, using, or possessing medical marijuana, paraphernalia or accessories.

  • Registered patient status not sufficient basis to conduct field sobriety test. Officer must have factual basis giving reasonable suspicion that person is operating vehicle under the influence of marijuana.
  • Registered patient or caregiver status cannot be sole or primary basis for rejecting a tenant.

  • A registered caregiver shall not be subject to arrest or criminal prosecution for obtaining or possessing medical marijuana, paraphernalia or accessories on behalf of patient, or for assisting patient with use.

  • Use, possession or administration of medical marijuana cannot be sole or primary basis for determining that a child is abused or neglected.  

  • Use, possession or administration of medical marijuana cannot be sole or primary basis for allocating parental rights, responsibilities or parenting time.  

  • Use or possession of medical marijuana cannot disqualify a patient from medical care or from a transplant waiting list.

  • Use, possession, administration, cultivation, processing, testing, or dispensing of medical marijuana not sole or primary reason to initiate forfeiture or seizure of property or assets.

HB 523: What forms of cannabis are permitted?

Oils (oral administration and vaporization), tinctures, capsules, edibles, patches, lotions, creams, ointments, plant material, and any other form approved by the board of pharmacy.

Note: No smoking or combustion. THC level for plant material must be less than 35%. THC level for extracts must be less than 70%.

HB 523: How much cannabis can a patient possess?

A ninety-day supply, as determined by the board of pharmacy. consists of:

Tier I plant material: 0-23% THC = 8 ounces of plant material
Tier II plant material: 23.1-35% THC = 5
3/10 ounces of plant material
Oils for vaporizing: 53.1 grams of THC
Patches for transdermal administration: 26.55 grams of THC
Edibles, oils, and tinctures for oral administration: 9.9 grams of THC

HB 523: Are there Qualifying Medical Conditions? What are they?

To be part of the program, patients must be certified by physician as having one of 21 qualifying medical conditions: Acquired immune deficiency syndrome; Alzheimer’s Disease; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Cancer; Chronic traumatic encephalopathy; Crohn's disease; Epilepsy or another seizure disorder;  Fibromyalgia; Glaucoma; Hepatitis C; Inflammatory bowel disease; Multiple sclerosis; Pain that is chronic, severe, or intractable; Parkinson's disease; Positive status for HIV; Post-traumatic stress disorder; Sickle cell anemia; Spinal cord disease or injury; Tourette's syndrome; Traumatic brain injury; Ulcerative colitis; Any other disease or condition specified in a rule adopted by the state medical board under section 4731.302 of the Revised Code.

HB 523: What is required for a physican to recomment marijuana to a patient?

  • Boni fide physician-patient relationships exists

  • Patient diagnosed with qualifying medical condition

  • Physician or delegate requested report from drug database covering past 12 months.

  • Physician informed patient that benefits of medical marijuana outweigh risks

  • Name of one or more caregivers assisting patient, if any

Patients: How does a patient obtain a registration card and at what cost?

To be dispensed medical marijuana or be in possession of it, a patient must have a valid registry identification card. The patient must obtain their registration from a physician authorized by the Ohio Medical Board to recommend medical marijuana. The physician will confirm that the patient has a qualifying condition and will then submit the paperwork for patient registration to the board of pharmacy. The fee for the registration is $50.

HB 523: How long is a physician recommendation valid?

A written recommendation issued to a patient is valid for one year. Thereafter, physician may issue another recommendation with a physical examination of the patient.

HB 523: Can patients have caregivers?

Yes. Caregivers may:

  • Possess medical marijuana on behalf of patient

  • Assist patient with use of medical marijuana

  • Possess paraphernalia and accessories

  • Possess registered patient’s ninety-day supply, as determined by the board of pharmacy

  • Maintain separate inventory for each patient served

  • May use medical marijuana if also a patient

A caregiver may only possess and purchase medical marijuana on behalf of a patient he/she has a valid registration identification card. The fee is $25 per card for each patient served.

HB 523: How much cannabis can a patient or caregiver grow at home?

HB 523 is actually silent on home growing. This means that growing marijuana in Ohio is illegal and penalties revert to existing Ohio law. NORML provides the best overview of the penalties for growing by quantity.

HB 523: What State of Ohio agencies regulate medical marijuana in Ohio?

The Ohio Department of Commerce, the State’s chief regulatory agency, oversees cultivators, processors and testing facilities.

 

The nine-member State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy oversees retail dispensaries that sell medical marijuana to patients who have been registered with the pharmacy board by physicians certified by the medical board to recommend marijuana.

 

The 10-member State Medical Board of Ohio oversees physicians who recommend treatment by medical marijuana to qualifying patients.

 

The Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation fingerprints and conducts criminal records checks on administrators, owners, officers, board members or prospective employees of entities licensed by the department of commerce or board of pharmacy.

 

The Department of Taxation provides state tax compliance information concerning license applicants to the department of commerce of the pharmacy board.

HB 523: What are the requirements for a dispensary license?

  • Criminal records check

  • Not convicted of or pled guilty to disqualifying offenses within last 5 years

  • Does not have ownership interest in a testing laboratory

  • Not located within 500 feet of school, church, or public library, playground, or park

  • Compliant with state tax law

HB 523: What are the requirements for a cultivator, processor or laboratory license?

  • Criminal records check

  • Not convicted of or pled guilty to disqualifying offenses within last 5 years

  • Does not have ownership interest in a testing laboratory

  • Not located within 500 feet of school, church, or public library, playground, or park

  • Compliant with state tax law

HB 523: What provisions apply to local communities?

Municipalities and townships may prohibit or limit the number of cultivators, processors or dispensaries within their respective territories.

Cannot limit research at a state university, academic medical center or private research and development organization within their jurisdiction.

Township zoning commissions can regulate the location of dispensaries or keep them from being located in unincorporated areas.

Tract, lot, parcel or portion of land on which marijuana is cultivated is not land exclusively devoted to agricultural use.

Cultivators, processors, retail dispensaries and testing laboratories cannot be located within 500 feet of the boundaries of a parcel of real estate containing a school, church, public library, public playground, or public park. Requirement doesn’t apply to research institutions.

HB 523: What is the timeline for implementing the program?

  • September 8, 2016 – Ohio’s Medical marijuana law goes into effect

  • September 8, 2016 – Affirmative defense begins

  • October 8, 2016 – Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee appointments made

  • November 7, 2016 – Initial Committee meeting held

  • April 24, 2017 - Cultivation rules and application released.

  • May 6, 2017 – Cultivation rules must be completed. After their adoption, the department of commerce will begin accepting cultivator applications.

  • June 5, 2017 to June 16, 2017 - Level II cultivator applications accepted

  • June 19, 2017 to June 30, 2017 - Level I cultivator applications accepted

  • September 8, 2017 – Department of commerce adopts standards and procedures for the program. 

  • September 8, 2017 – State medical board adopts rules regarding physician recommendations  

  • September 8, 2017 – Board of pharmacy adopts rules for standards and procedures

  • September 8, 2017 – Institution of higher education requirement for laboratory testing expires

  • September 8, 2017 – Existing cultivation sites may expand their growing areas.

  • Spring, 2018 –. Medical Board begins to issue doctors certificates to recommend medical marijuana via the state’s online eLicense portal..

  • September 8, 2018 – Department of Commerce and State Board of Pharmacy have taken all actions necessary to ensure Medical Marijuana Control Program is fully operational.

  • November 1, 2018 – Petitions to add a qualifying medical condition begin to be accepted by the State Medical Board.

  • February 2019 – Affirmative defense expires 60 days after board of pharmacy began accepting patient applications on December 3, 2018.

  • October 8, 2021 – Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee expires.

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House Bill 523 - Ohio's medical marijuana law

Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program - Proposed Rules

Who can I call if I have quetions about medical marijana in Ohio?

The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program operates a Toll-Free Helpline that responds to inquiries from patients, caregivers, and health professionals regarding adverse reactions to medical marijuana, and provides information about available services and additional assistance as needed.

 

1-833-4OH-MMCP (1-833-464-6627)

Where can patients get ID cards?

Per the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, there are three basic steps:

  1. Visit a certified physician who can confirm that you have one of the medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana and have the physician create your profile in the Patient & Caregiver Registry.

  2. Confirm and complete your registration for the program through the OMMCP Patient & Caregiver Registry.

  3. Purchase medical marijuana from an approved dispensary in Ohio.

Do I need an ID card for the Affirmative Defense?

You may. The requirements for the Affirmative Defense are mostly the same as those for being a patient. By statute, the Affirmative Defense expires 60 days after the Board of Pharmacy begins to accept applications for patient ID cards. The Patient and Caregiver Registry opened on December 3, 2018.

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Cultivation: On what date will applications for cultivator licenses begin to be accepted?

Cultivation rules under HB 523 are required to be complete by May 6, 2017. After these rules are adopted, "the Ohio Department of Commerce will begin accepting applications for medical marijuana cultivator provisional licenses through a competitive process."

Cultivation: How large will cultivation sites be?

Site types are divided into two “Levels.” A Level 1 site is permitted to operate up to 25,000 square footage of space designated as the marijuana cultivation area. A Level 2 site is permitted to operate up to 3,000 square footage of space designated as the marijuana cultivation area.

Cultivation How many licenses will be issued?

Until September 8, 2018, the department of commerce may issue up to 12 provisional licenses for Level I and 12 provisional licenses for Level II. More licenses can be issued after that date.

After September 8, 2018, the Director of the Department of Commerce may issue additional cultivator provisional licenses, if the number of patients seeking to use medical marijuana support additional licenses.

Update: On November 2, 2017, the Ohio Department of Commerce announced the recipients of 12 Level II Cultivator Provisional Licenses. On November 30, 2017, the ODC awarded 12 Level I Cultivator Provisional Licenses. On May 17, 2018, Pharmacann Ohio was added as a Level I awardee due to a scoring error. In all, 25 cultivators have received provisional licenses to grow medical marijuana in Ohio.

Cultivation: Can the size of a cultivation site be expanded?

After September 9, 2018, existing cultivation sites can be expanded up to 50,000 square feet of cultivation area for Level I and 6,000 square feet for Level II. These sites can undergo one additional expansion of 25,000 square feet for Level 1 and 3,000 square feet for Level II, for a total cultivation area of 75,000 square feet for Level I and 9,000 square feet Level II.

Cultivation: What does an applicant for a cultivator license need to submit?

Applicants will be scored and ranked based on a “rubric” that includes a business plan, operations plan, quality assurance plan, security plan, financial plan, environmental plan, employment practices, and research plan. (see ORC 3796 or the process on JCARR)

Cultivation: How much will a Level I cultivator’s license cost?

Level 1 applicants must have $500,000 of unencumbered liquid assets, capable of being fully liquid in 30 days.

 

Level 1 cultivators must maintain $750,000 in an escrow account at a chartered financial institution or have a surety bond of $750,000. The bond or escrow can be reduced by $250,000 if certain milestones are met.

 

Application fee: $20,000 

Certificate of Operation fee: $180,000  

Annual renewal fee: $200,000

(All fees are nonrefundable.)

Cultivation: How much will a Level 2 cultivator’s license cost?

Level 2 applicants must have $50,000 of unencumbered liquid assets, capable of being fully liquid in 30 days.

 

Level 2 cultivators must have $75,000 in an escrow account at a chartered financial institution or a surety bond of $75,000. The escrow or bond can be reduced by $25,000 if certain milestones are met.

 

Application fee: $2,000

Certificate of Operation fee: $18,000  

Annual renewal fee: $20,000

(All fees nonrefundable)

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Dispensaries: How many dispensaries will there be?

Until September 8, 2018, the State Board of Pharmacy is authorized to issue 60 provisional dispensary licenses.

After September 8, 2018, the Board of Pharmacy will review the number of patients seeking to use medical marijuana and the geographic distribution of dispensaries to determine biennially if a sufficient number of dispensaries exist.

Update: On June 4, 2018, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy awarded 56 provisional dispensary licenses. The list of awardees can be found here.

Dispensaries: How are dispensaries allocated across the state?

Rule makers have divided Ohio into four geographic districts in order to more evenly allocate dispensaries across the state. The districts are: Northwest (10 dispensaries), Northeast (18), Southeast (17) and Southwest (15). The counties for major cities of Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati respectively get 5, 5 and 3.