Ohio 25th state to legalize medical marijuana, but still a lot of unknowns

(WDTN Photo/Paul Rodzinka)
(WDTN Photo/Paul Rodzinka)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The medicinal drug is now legal in the Buckeye state, but so far not much has changed.  The state still has to outline how the law will work.  Meaning, Ohioans won’t be able to legally buy it here in the state for at least a year.

A law with no regulations in place means a lot of people are still hazy on how it works.  Leaving doctors, patients, pharmacists, police and many others with lots of unanswered questions.

Ohio is the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana, but the rules for producing, prescribing and distributing medical cannabis still need to be written and put in place.  Marc Sweeney is the dean of the school of pharmacy at Cedarville University and was appointed to be part of the Ohio Pharmacists Association Medical Marijuana Taskforce that will develop those guidelines for dispensing the drug.

“Marijuana for the purposes of medical and therapeutic use is legal in Ohio.  However, the problem is that we don’t have the regulations to actually implement it practically in the state,” Sweeney said.  “At the end of the day, we want to ensure that the people that we serve in the state of Ohio are cared for and protected and so the purpose of laws and legislation are for that purpose, but we want to make sure that the right expertise are at the table to do that well.”

The law allows patients to use marijuana in edibles, oils, patches, plant material and in vapor form, but barred smoking it.  The law however makes no mention on where patients are supposed to get their marijuana with no dispensaries in the state at this time and the law prohibiting people from growing their own.  Bringing marijuana into Ohio from out of state would violate federal laws.

“We have a lot of work to do, and we’re working alongside multiple groups. The concern is public and patient safety, but we also want to make sure patients are well cared for through that process as well.” Sweeney said.

Currently, five local governments in the Miami Valley region have placed a moratorium on medical marijuana including Miamisburg, Beavercreek, Springfield, Troy and Clayton.  Some communities are considering banning dispensaries from being built in their area.

Statewide the medical marijuana program is required to be fully operational by September 2018.

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