CannabizDaily has reported earlier that Ohio’s rollout of its medical cannabis program will be delayed. According to the Ohio Department of Commerce, which is the agency in charge of overseeing the state’s medical cannabis program, they won’t be able to make it to the September 8 deadline because of delays with regard to licensing.
The department explained that while they have already awarded licenses for cultivators to grow cannabis plants, certificates of operation still have to be granted. These certificates will be given only after the companies pass inspection by state officials.
So far, only one cannabis producer out of the 25 licensees has had its facility inspected. Unfortunately, it needed to make some changes as prescribed by inspectors before it can get its certificate of operation.
As a result, the state is a little behind schedule. To meet the September rollout date, these cannabis producers should have started growing the plants last month.
Update: Medical cannabis clinics have started to open
Cannabis plants haven’t been grown yet, but clinics for those seeking recommendations for medical cannabis have already started to open in Columbus. Doctors at these clinics can help patients sign up for the state’s new medical cannabis system.
These clinics will not have medical cannabis on site. Patients will still have to wait for the dispensaries to open, because they are the only places that will offer them.
According to Dr. Anand Dugar of Green Health Docs near Grandview Heights, their goal is to make people aware of the medical cannabis program, to get patients enrolled in the program, and to guide these patients throughout the program.
Just two weeks ago, state officials announced where the medical cannabis dispensaries will be located. However, because of the delays in production, patients who register for the program wouldn’t be able to avail of medical cannabis from these dispensaries just yet and will have to wait at least a few more months to get their medication.
Dr. Dugar said that the advantage of opening the clinics in advance is that it allows patients to register ahead of time, and once these dispensaries open, they will be ready to go instead of scramble to get access to medical cannabis along with everyone else.
So far, 139 doctors have already registered to be able to recommend medical cannabis and industry experts expect this number to grow.
Thomas Rosenberger of the National Cannabis Industry Association of Ohio said that there would be enough doctors that patients will have access throughout the state.
Meanwhile, critics are saying that the state needs to speed up the registration process for doctors. They believe that Ohio patients need more doctors who can make medical cannabis recommendations.
Unfortunately, they think that at the rate the state is processing registration applications, there will only be a few hundred doctors eligible to prescribe medical cannabis by the end of 2018.
In comparison, Pennsylvania already has nearly 6,000 doctors signed up into their medical cannabis program, and has more than 36,000 registered patients.
What’s the status of Ohio’s medical cannabis program now?
The state legalized medical cannabis in June 2016. Officials said that residents can obtain medical cannabis from outside of the state as long as they have a doctor’s prescription.
For now, the state is still busy working toward establishing its very own network of cannabis producers and dispensaries.
The Department of Commerce has not yet specified a new start date for the medical cannabis program (after September 2018). They just said that it would take weeks more before patients could actually avail of the medication. And even then, it is highly likely that medical cannabis would be available only in limited quantities.