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