Ohio is finally simplifying its previously strict limits on medical marijuana purchases after patients complained that restrictions were preventing them from buying the medicine they need, when they need it.
Currently patients are limited to a “90-day supply” of medical marijuana, as stipulated under Ohio state law.
Now, the restrictions that curtail patients’ access to medical marijuana days or even weeks before they reach their limit are being eliminated as of April 17, 2020. This was ordered by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy that oversees the Buckeye State’s medical marijuana program.
“This process is intended to provide a simpler way for patients, caregivers, and dispensaries to calculate days’ supply while ensuring patients do not exceed the maximum 90-day possession limit established in law,” reads the Pharmacy Boards new guidelines.
Shortly after Ohio’s medical marijuana sales began in March 2019, patients began to notice that the days on which they didn’t buy any product had been subtracted from their 90-day total. For example, if a patient made his/her first purchase on day 30 of their recommendation, they could only buy 60 days worth of marijuana products going forward.
Also subtracted were purchases made in the previous 90 days, obliging patients to wait for their purchases to “fall off” after 90 days before they could buy more. To add to the mess, the patient portal often showed an inaccurate number of remaining days.
Together, the restrictions created a situation in which many MMJ patients were never able to buy their fair share of medicine.
“I can go several weeks without buying anything from my local dispensary. Meanwhile my 90-day purchasing window is getting smaller,” Ted McLaughlin, a Vietnam war veteran and MMJ patient, told the Weed Blog.
Ohioans are warmly welcoming the use-it-or-lose-it restriction and the rolling 90-day count.
“Under the old purchase limits, I had to take several trips to my dispensary in Cleveland rather than being able to stock up all at once,” McLaughlin said.
Patients can now buy 45 days worth of product at any point in a 45-day period. The days they don’t purchase anything won’t carry over to the next period, but patients won’t lose them either.
“We hope this will provide greater transparency for patients, caregivers and dispensary employees while still taking steps to ensure patients do not possess more than 90-day supply as stipulated in the Ohio Revised Code,” board spokesman Cameron McNamee, per Cincinnati.com.
Medical marijuana patients’ concerns about how and where to access their medicine have increased in the past month as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the country.
Thankfully, in Ohio medical marijuana dispensaries are considered essential under Governor Mike de Wine’s stay-at-home order issued on March 22.
Other rules covering Ohio’s MMJ have also been relaxed in the past several weeks, including allowing physicians to recommend medical marijuana over the phone or by video chat and allowing dispensaries to offer curbside sales.