Plant to patient: how medical marijuana will work in Ohio

In this photo taken Tuesday, May 5, 2015, a marijuana plant grows at a Minnesota Medical Solutions greenhouse in Otsego, Minn. The crop is coming in at Minnesota Medical Solutions, one of two manufacturers who will be supplying the state's medical marijuana. (Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via AP)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - Medical marijuana is now legal in the state of Ohio but patients who need it, can't get it yet. Those patients might be waiting more than a year because a new committee must map out every detail from the marijuana seed to the plant's sale.

What does the industry look like? Where is the marijuana grown? Who gets to sell it? and When can patients finally buy it?

These are all questions the group of 14 Ohioans is hoping to answer. From pharmacists and physicians to researchers and drug addiction experts, this team will set the rules.

2 NEWS Investigates traveled to Columbus for their first meeting and tracked down the local members: Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart and Dayton Pain Management Physician, Dr. Amol Soin.

"The most important thing is that we do this properly and take the appropriate steps to make sure it's rolled out so that we have patient access coupled with safety for the public," said Dr. Soin.

Job number 1 is to figure out how pot is going to be grown in the state and who would do it.
The group recommends 12 large growers and 6 smaller ones for the entire state, limiting the total amount of space for pot plants to about four football fields.

Now the group will start looking at how they'll track the marijuana plants and test them as well as figure out who can sell them. All together it could take more than a year and a half to get this figured out all while patients who need it eagerly wait.

"It does help pain, it does help nausea, it does help with some of these conditions a lot of people struggle with," said Troy resident, Aimee Shannon.

The Dean of Pharmacy at Cedarville University, Marc Sweeney said making sure this law is implemented right is very important. That's why he believes it's going to take a while.

"It's easier to make good decisions on the up-front rather than changing bad decisions later," said Sweeney.

He said there's a lot to be discussed considering the fact that marijuana is classified as illegal and not a medicine federally.

"Even though it's been recognized as having medicinal value by the state of Ohio the challenge really is where are the monitoring parameters?" said Sweeney.

Several Ohio cities are wondering the same thing. Towns like Troy, Beavercreek and Kettering all have temporary ordinances to ban grow sites or dispensaries within their limits while this committee figures out the details. Community safety is top of mind.

Sheriff Lenhart is helping the group take on that issue. He tells 2 NEWS Investigates he will bring up law enforcement issues like pot crossing state borders and how to stop people from driving under the influence.

"Opium is a great example of things got out of control and I think there has to be some control factors in this," said Sheriff Lenhart.

For more information on how to get your voice heard by the committee go here:

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