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Ohio Reduces Restrictions on Medical Marijuana Purchases

May 26, 2020 • • Marijuana LawsMedical Marijuana

In response the COVID-19 pandemic, Ohio has eased regulatory restrictions on medical marijuana purchases to ensure patients have continued access to care.

  The COVID-19 pandemic is taking its toll everywhere, and has caused many industries to reconsider how they manage essential services like deliveries and product exchanges. In Ohio and other states with medical marijuana programs, the concern became how to maintain patients’ access to their medical cannabis products. The demographics of who uses medical marijuana in Ohio of course vary by age, and considering that many medical marijuana patients aren’t able to manage their symptoms with other forms of treatment, this was a serious concern.

The Ohio pharmacy board had been looking to amend the state’s medical marijuana laws to ease some of these restrictions on patients. As the COVID-19 pandemic escalated, Ohio’s shelter-at-home order seemed like a good reason to implement the change. Board officials approved the change as part of a temporary COVID-19 relief resolution, but the full board intends to finalize the update shortly.

What Does the Change Mean for Patients?

In Ohio, patients were limited to purchasing medical marijuana in “90-day supply” quantities. While this may seem relatively straightforward, the specifics of the regulation placed a number of restrictions on patients. In many cases, it cut off their ability to purchase more medication long before they were close to reaching the 90-day supply limit.

When the state’s medical marijuana program opened last year, patients discovered that if they didn’t buy product on the first day of their eligibility, the unused days would proportionally decrease the total amount of product they could purchase during the 90-day period. If a patient made their first purchase on day 45 of their recommendation period, they would only be able to buy a maximum of half that period’s amount. The system tracks purchases made in the last 90 days, and previously, patients essentially had to wait a full 90 days before it would allow them to make another purchase.

The new regulations remove these restrictions and reduce the period length from 90 days to 45. This allows patients to purchase 45 days’ worth of product at any point during the period, even if they buy their maximum on the last and first days of two successive periods.

The stay-at-home order includes medical marijuana in its list of essential services. Before the resolution was approved, the purchase limits required patients to make repeated trips to dispensaries, instead of fewer trips when they could stock up more fully. The resolution also eases a few other administrative restrictions by allowing physicians to make
medical marijuana recommendations via phone or video call. Following the approach taken by many restaurants, dispensaries are now allowed to provide curbside pickup.

Medical Marijuana Can Help with a Variety of Conditions

Cannabis offers a range of medical benefits, making it useful for treating and managing a variety of symptoms. Some cancer and AIDS patients use it to alleviate their nausea, while other patients are finding that it presents
a safer option (than opioids, for instance) for treating chronic pain.

If you’re curious whether medical marijuana might be able to help you treat or manage your symptoms,
contact Lakewood Medical Clinic today. Our team of trained medical cannabis specialists are at the ready to ensure that you get the care you need, when you need it.

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