In just four days, medical cannabis is supposed to become legal in Ohio. With many setbacks and a tight deadline, state officials have all but given up on meeting that Saturday goal.
Officials with the State Medical Board, Board of Pharmacy and Board of Commerce all say they’ve done their due diligence in completing the tasks called for in House Bill 523.
“The train has already left. It’s on its way towards fruition. There’s nothing really that I or any patient can do to make it go faster,” said Rob Ryan.
Ryan, a three-time cancer survivor and medical cannabis advocate with the Ohio Patient Network, is not surprised about the delay.
“It started off on the wrong foot as evidence(d) by the (state) next door, Pennsylvania, … (which) came out about the same time and has been operational since this winter,” he said.
The boards say they recognize the state-issued timeline was aggressive, but safety of the product and security of the processing facilities are their top concerns.
As of Tuesday, the Board of Pharmacy has issued 56 licenses. The Board of Commerce has cleared 10 processors and four sites have already been built.
The Medical Board has certified 222 doctors.
Now, with no new date in writing, the boards say legal medical cannabis in Ohio is in the hands of the dispensers.
“The people who have chronic illnesses and have been using it for a long time kind of acknowledge the failings or the shortcomings of the structure of the program and how it was initially laid out,” Ryan said.
Processing facility inspections will continue through October.
The Medical Board will also be looking for additional qualifying conditions to add to its list starting Nov. 1 through the end of the year.