Frequently Asked Questions

General

When will the Medical Marijuana Control Program start?
The Ohio Department of Commerce and the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy are required by law to take all actions necessary to ensure that Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program is fully operational no later than September 2018. At that time, there will be an established structure for Ohioans with a qualifying medical condition to obtain a recommendation for medical marijuana, purchase medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary, and consume medical marijuana.
Why will it take two years to get Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program up and running?
The process to stand up the Medical Marijuana Control Program must be thoughtful and deliberate to ensure the safety of the public and to promote access to a safe product. Administrative rules are under development and will follow the process outlined in Chapter 119 of the Ohio Revised Code, including review by the Common Sense Initiative and the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. In the case of the State Medical Board of Ohio and the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy, rules must also receive input and approval from their respective appointed boards.

The state of Ohio is committed to an open and transparent process when setting up the regulatory framework for medical marijuana. This website will serve as a central resource for regular updates and opportunity to provide input on rule development and program implementation.

Is there help available for those who are misusing or abusing medication or other drugs?
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, call 877-275-6364 for information and a referral. Talk with your children about the importance of living healthy, drug-free lives – visit StartTalking.Ohio.gov for information and resources.

Cultivating, Processing and Testing

How can I become a cultivator?
Administrative rules currently under development will establish the standards and procedures, including application procedures, fees, number of available licenses, timing, how to apply, and renewal requirements. That information will be final when the rules are adopted by May 6, 2017. Draft rules will be available on this website for public comment in the fall of 2016.
How can I become a processor?
Administrative rules currently under development will establish the standards and procedures, including application procedures, fees, number of available licenses, timing, how to apply, and renewal requirements. That information will be final when the rules are adopted by September 8, 2017. Draft rules will be available on this website for public comment.
How can I open a testing laboratory?
Administrative rules currently under development will establish the standards and procedures, including application procedures, fees, number of available licenses, timing, how to apply, and renewal requirements. That information will be final when the rules are adopted by September 8, 2017. Draft rules will be available on this website for public comment.

Per Ohio Revised Code, for one year following the date on which the Department of Commerce begins accepting applications, licenses issued to conduct laboratory testing of medical marijuana will only be granted to institutions of higher education that are public, located within the state of Ohio, and have the resources and facilities necessary to conduct testing in accordance with the rules.
What is the cost of obtaining a cultivator, processor, or testing laboratory license?
The cultivator, processor, and testing laboratory licensing fees will be determined in rules adopted by the Department of Commerce.
How many cultivators, processors, or testing laboratories will be licensed by the Department of Commerce?
The Department of Commerce is required to adopt rules on the number of licenses that will be permitted at any one time. More information on licensing will be made available once the rules are finalized.

Dispensaries

How do I register to become a licensed retail dispensary?
Administrative rules currently under development will establish the standards and procedures, including application procedures, fees, number of available licenses, timing, how to apply, and renewal requirements. That information will be final when the rules are adopted by September 8, 2017. Draft rules will be available on this website for public comment.
What is the cost of obtaining a retail dispensary license?
The retail dispensary licensing fee will be determined in rules adopted by the Board of Pharmacy.
How many retail dispensaries will be licensed by the Board of Pharmacy?
The Board of Pharmacy is required to adopt rules on the number of retail dispensary licenses that will be permitted at any one time. More information on licensing will be made available once the rules are finalized.
Are there any zoning restrictions on where a licensed retail dispensary may be located?
A retail dispensary is prohibited from being located within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground, or public park. In addition, cities and townships may adopt additional regulations to prohibit or limit the number of retail dispensaries.
Will retail dispensaries be required to report to the Ohio Automated Rx Reporting System (OARRS)?
Yes. A retail dispensary is required to report to OARRS when dispensing medical marijuana. A dispensary must report to the database the information specified in rules adopted by the Board of Pharmacy.

Physicians

What is required of a physician to recommend medical marijuana now that House Bill 523 is effective?
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. Per House Bill 523, the rules outlining the standards and process needed to obtain such a certificate to recommend will be developed no later than September 8, 2017. For more information, please visit the website for the State Medical Board of Ohio.

As a way to protect patients and parents or guardians of minor patients who seek to use marijuana prior to the creation and implementation of all the administrative rules necessary to run the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, HB 523 created an affirmative defense for certain marijuana-related crimes. According to the law, a patient, parent, or guardian can only raise an affirmative defense if they have, among other requirements, received a written recommendation from his or her doctor that certifies a certain number of criteria are met. The Board recommends that physicians consult with their private legal counsel and/or employer for interpretation of the legislation.
How can a patient obtain a recommendation for medical marijuana in the state of Ohio?
The federal government prohibits doctors from being able to prescribe marijuana. Instead, patients must have a recommendation from a certified physician. Physicians interested in recommending the use of medical marijuana for patients must apply for a certificate to recommend from the State Medical Board of Ohio. The process for doing so is under development, and information will be available on this website as it is available.
What rules are the Medical Board working on related to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program?
House Bill 523 authorizes the State Medical Board of Ohio to adopt rules for the following:
  • The procedures that a physician must follow when applying for a certificate to recommend;
  • The conditions that must be met to be eligible for a certificate to recommend;
  • The schedule and procedures for renewing a certificate to recommend;
  • The reasons for which a certificate to recommend may be suspended or revoked;
  • The standards under which a certificate to recommend suspension may be lifted; and,
  • The minimal standards of care when recommending treatment with medical marijuana.
When will we know more about the requirements for doctors wanting a certificate to recommend?
As outlined by the legislation, the Medical Board is required to complete rules no later than one year after the effective date of the legislation, or September 8, 2017.

Patients and Caregivers

What is required of a physician to recommend medical marijuana now that House Bill 523 is effective?
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. Per House Bill 523, the rules outlining the standards and process needed to obtain such a certificate to recommend will be developed no later than September 8, 2017. For more information, please visit the website for the State Medical Board of Ohio.

As a way to protect patients and parents or guardians of minor patients who seek to use marijuana prior to the creation and implementation of all the administrative rules necessary to run the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, HB 523 created an affirmative defense for certain marijuana-related crimes. According to the law, a patient, parent, or guardian can only raise an affirmative defense if they have, among other requirements, received a written recommendation from his or her doctor that certifies a certain number of criteria are met. The Board recommends that physicians consult with their private legal counsel and/or employer for interpretation of the legislation.
What are the qualifying medical conditions that may be treated with medical marijuana?
Certified physicians may recommend medical marijuana only for the treatment of a qualifying medical condition. Under Ohio law, all of the following are qualifying medical conditions: AIDS, 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 and 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, and ulcerative colitis.
Can new qualifying medical conditions be added?
Yes. The law authorizes an individual to petition the Medical Board to add a disease or condition to the list of qualifying medical conditions. The Medical Board is currently developing a petition process and will provide more information once it is finalized.
Do I need to register in order to obtain medical marijuana?
Yes. Patients seeking to use medical marijuana and caregivers seeking to assist a patient in the use of medical marijuana will be required to apply to the Board of Pharmacy for a registration card. The physician who holds a certificate to recommend issued by the Medical Board and is treating the patient must submit the application on the patient's or caregiver's behalf. The Board of Pharmacy is currently developing rules on how this process works including fees associated with registration and the registration renewal period. All rules on patient and caregiver registration must be finalized no later than September 2017.
How long is a patient or caregiver registration valid?
A registration will have an expiration date and need to be renewed. The renewal period will be established in rules adopted by the Board of Pharmacy.
Will my registration status be made publicly available?
No. The law prohibits the Board of Pharmacy, as well as licensed dispensaries, from making personal identifying information public. Physicians and those employed by dispensaries will be able to verify a patient or caregiver’s registration.
Where will I be able to obtain medical marijuana?
Medical marijuana will be available from retail dispensaries licensed by the Board of Pharmacy. The Board of Pharmacy is currently developing rules on the licensing of medical marijuana dispensaries.
What forms of medical marijuana will be available?
The following forms of medical marijuana are permitted: oils, tinctures, plant material, edibles and patches. The law prohibits the use of medical marijuana by smoking or combustion, but does allows for vaporization (vaping). The law prohibits any form that is attractive children.
Can new forms be approved?
Yes. An individual may petition the Board of Pharmacy to approve an additional form or method of using medical marijuana. The Board of Pharmacy is currently developing a petition process and will provide more information once it is finalized.

Please note: The law prohibits any form or method considered attractive to children.
Will medical marijuana be available to minors?
Yes. However, a certified physician may recommend treatment with medical marijuana only after obtaining the consent of a parent or another person responsible for providing consent to treatment.
Will I be permitted to grow medical marijuana for personal consumption?
No. The law prohibits the cultivation of medical marijuana for personal, family, or household use.
How much medical marijuana will a registered patient or caregiver be able to possess at one time?
The amount of medical marijuana possessed by a registered patient or caregiver must not exceed a 90-day supply. The Board of Pharmacy will be developing rules to determine the amount of medical marijuana that equals a 90-day supply.

In the case of a registered caregiver who provides care to more than one registered patient, the caregiver must maintain separate inventories of medical marijuana for each patient.
Will I be able to use my medical marijuana registration card in other states? Will an out-of-state card be recognized in Ohio?
The law requires that the Board of Pharmacy attempt to negotiate and enter into reciprocity agreements with other states. Before entering into an agreement with another state, the Board must determine that both of the following apply:

(1) The eligibility requirements imposed by the other state in order to obtain a registry identification card are substantially comparable to Ohio's requirements; and,

(2) The other state recognizes a patient or caregiver registration and identification card issued in Ohio.
Does Ohio recognize medical marijuana cards issued by other states?
Currently, Ohio does not recognize medical marijuana registry cards issued in other states. The law requires that the Board of Pharmacy attempt in good faith to negotiate and enter into reciprocity agreements with other states. If Ohio does enter into a reciprocity agreement with another state, more information will be posted to the OMMCP website.

Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee

What is the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee?
The Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee is coordinated by the Board of Pharmacy. It is responsible for developing and submitting to the Department of Commerce, Board of Pharmacy, and Medical Board any recommendations related to the Medical Marijuana Control Program. Its membership is appointed by the Governor, Senate President and Minority Leader of the Ohio Senate, and Speaker and Minority Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives.

The Committee consists of the following 14 members:

  • Two members who are practicing pharmacists, at least one of whom supports the use of marijuana for medical purposes and at least one of whom is a member of the Board of Pharmacy;
  • Two members who are practicing physicians, at least one of whom supports the use of marijuana for medical purposes and at least one of whom is a member of the State Medical Board;
  • A member who represents local law enforcement;
  • A member who represents employers;
  • A member who represents labor;
  • A member who represents persons involved in mental health treatment;
  • A member who is a nurse;
  • A member who represents caregivers;
  • A member who represents patients;
  • A member who represents agriculture;
  • A member who represents persons involved in the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction; and,
  • A member who engages in academic research.
When does the committee meet?
The committee will be appointed and begin meeting in the fall of 2016. Meeting notices will be made available on this website prior to each meeting.

Questions for Employers

How does this affect workers’ compensation?
For more information about how medical marijuana affects workers’ compensation, consult information on the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation website at https://www.bwc.ohio.gov/downloads/blankpdf/MedMarijuanaImpact.pdf