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Ohio Doctors Writing Cannabis Recommendations That Can’t Be Used

Due to delays in the roll-out of Ohio’s medical cannabis program, doctors there have been writing recommendations for medical cannabis IDs that don’t actually grant access to the plant, The Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

The recommendations can cost as much as $500 and, because of the limited number of doctors allowed to register patients for the program, these doctor visits are often not covered by health insurance.

Several groups claiming to help Ohio residents get their medical cannabis cards, such as the Ohio Cannabis Connection and Ohio Marijuana Card, have websites that do not clearly explain that medical cards are still unobtainable, for anyone.

Many patients believe that, once they have a recommendation from a doctor, it is legal for them to possess cannabis — but that’s not true. Once a patient has a recommendation, they still need to register with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy’s medical cannabis registry, which is not yet open.

While the recommendation may function as an affirmative defense in court, it’s far from a guaranteed safety net. Many doctors are refusing to write recommendations for just that reason, like Dr. William Sawyer from Sharonville, Ohio.

“I’ve had many people come into my office who’ve said they’ve got friends who already have their cards. We try to explain to them that’s not possible. But there’s a lot of misinformation and misleading marketing going on in the state of Ohio, and people are very convinced of what they’ve been told by these organizations. … At some level, they’re fooling people into believing they have something that they don’t.” — Dr. William Sawyer, in the report

The patient registry was supposed to be open and issuing cards by July, but the program was delayed alongside the rest of Ohio‘s medical cannabis infrastructure.

Growers won’t be ready to deliver products until early next year, at the earliest. It’s unclear when the patient registry will open.

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Authored By

Patrick Beggan is a writer and photographer based in Bellingham, Washington. After serving as a US Army medic, he developed a passion for natural and herbal medicine that led him to the West coast. As a photographer, he strives to capture mood & narrative simultaneously to create images that speak volumes.

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