National News

Ohio activates first 1,000 medical marijuana cards

Posted December 10, 2018 3:40 p.m. EST

DAYTON, Ohio -- More than 2,000 Ohioans entered into the state's medical marijuana patient and caregiver registry within the first week of its operation with more than half already paying fees to activate their cards, according to the State Board of Pharmacy.

Rollout of the registry last week allowed qualified physicians to begin adding the names of patients and caregivers into the system. As of Monday, 1,062 patients and caregivers of the 1,948 entered had completed the process and paid an annual registration fee. The fee for patients is $50 and $25 for caregivers, though veterans and low-income patients may be eligible for lower fees.

Prospective patients watched an initial Sept. 8 state deadline pass without the product in dispensaries. And the wait will continue, Ali Simon, public and policy affairs liaison with the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, said last week.

"What's important to recognize is -- we've seen this in other states as well -- it's going to be a very small batch initially of medical marijuana made available," she said. "But then as more and more cultivators have harvests, we'll see more and more product reach the shelf into the early months of 2019."

Patients must have one or more 21 qualifying conditions, which include Alzheimer's disease, cancer, chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The number of doctors certified to recommend medical marijuana in Ohio reached 336 last month. Of those, about 30 reside in the Miami Valley, according to State Medical Board of Ohio records.

When up and running, Ohio dispensaries are allowed to sell 90-day supplies of medical marijuana as oils, tinctures, plant material, edibles and patches. Patients are allowed to vape plant material but forbidden to light up.

Story Filed By Cox Newspapers

For Use By Clients of the New York Times News Service