Medical Marijuana

On May 25, 2016, the Ohio General Assembly passed House Bill (HB) 523 that legalizes the use of particular forms of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions. Governor John Kasich signed the bill into law on June 8, 2016, and it went into effect on September 8, 2016. For more information, visit the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program website.

A physician is not permitted to issue a state of Ohio approved written recommendation to use medical marijuana until the physician has obtained a certificate to recommend from the State Medical Board of Ohio (SMBO).

HB 523 set up a highly regulated “seed-to-sale” system for growing, processing, testing, and dispensing marijuana for people with any of the more than 20 specified medical diseases and conditions. Patients are able to get a recommendation from a physician for a 90-day supply of marijuana edibles, patches, oils, tinctures, and plant material. Vaporizing marijuana will be permitted, but smoking will not. Home growing is banned.

Bill Provisions Pertaining to Physicians

According to Ohio Academy of Family Physicians Lobbyist David Paragas, JD, and his legal team at Barnes & Thornburg LLP:
  • Physicians must apply to the SMBO for a certificate to recommend medical marijuana to patients
  • Physicians licensed to recommend medical marijuana can do so if:
    • The patient has been diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition (acquired immune deficiency syndrome; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Alzheimer’s disease; cancer; chronic traumatic encephalopathy; Crohn’s disease; epilepsy or another seizure disorder; fibromyalgia; glaucoma; hepatitis C; inflammatory bowel disease; multiple sclerosis; pain that is either chronic or severeor 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; or ulcerative colitis)
    • There is a genuine patient-physician relationship
    • There has been an in-person physical exam
    • There has been a review of the patient’s medical history
  • Physicians may recommend to minors if the aforementioned conditions are met and there is consent given by the appropriate parent or guardian
  • Physicians will submit, on behalf of their patient, an application for use of medical marijuana, which requires:
    • A genuine patient-physician relationship
    • The patient has been diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition
    • The physician has informed the patient of the risks of marijuana
    • The physician has concluded the benefits outweigh the risks of medical marijuana
  • Recommending physicians are immune from civil liability, not subject to professional disciplinary action by the SMBO or the SOBP, and are not subject to criminal prosecution for any of the following:
    • Advising a patient about the benefits and risks of medical marijuana to treat a qualifying medical condition
    • Recommending medical marijuana to treat a qualifying condition
    • Monitoring a patient’s treatment with medical marijuana.

Patients must have one of the aforementioned medical conditions to apply to the SOBP for registration. Patients, once properly registered, may use and possess marijuana and paraphernalia.

Additional Information