On June 8, 2016, former Ohio governor John Kasich signed House Bill 523 into law. This bill legalized the use of medical marijuana across the state. The legislation officially went into effect 90 days later, on September 8, 2016.

Now, Ohioans with a valid doctor’s recommendation are allowed to legally use medical marijuana to help alleviate the symptoms of their condition. Are you wondering if you qualify for this program, and how it works?

Today, we’re taking an in-depth look at Ohio medical marijuana, and sharing all of the important details you need to know.

Qualifying Conditions to Know

Before we dive into the different aspects of the Ohio medical marijuana law, it’s important to know who can use it, and who isn’t eligible.

Is medical marijuana legal in Ohio? Yes, but you have to qualify first. A certified physician can only recommend the use of medical marijuana for patients with the following health conditions:

  • AIDS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cachexia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Epilepsy (or another seizure disorder)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Certain types of pain (chronic/severe or intractable)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Positive status for HIV
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Spasticity
  • Spinal cord disease or injury
  • Terminal illness
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis

In addition to the conditions listed above, there are a few other medical issues that can qualify patients to legally apply for the use of medical marijuana. These include:

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic migraines
  • Complex region pain syndrome

In February 2021, the State Medical Board of Ohio deemed that those conditions were eligible because they were covered by an existing qualifying condition: chronic/severe or intractable pain.

Registering as a Patient in the Ohio Medical Marijuana Program

If you suffer from any of the conditions listed above, then you might be eligible to participate in Ohio’s medical marijuana program. Here are the steps to follow when you’re ready to register as a patient.

Step 1: Visit a Certified Physician
Your first step is to visit a certified physician, who can assess your medical state and confirm that you are suffering from a qualifying condition. You must establish an ongoing physician/patient relationship with this individual, and they must hold an active Certificate to Recommend (CTR), issued by the State Medical Board of Ohio.

If you do not currently visit a physician with an active CTR, then you can find one using the Medical Board’s online CTR Search Map.

If the physician confirms your case, then they will create a new profile for you in the state’s Patient and Caregiver Registry. To do so, they will need one of the following items from you, so be sure to bring them to your appointment:

  • A valid Ohio driver’s license
  • A valid Ohio identification card (issued by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles)
  • A valid U.S. passport

This will be a preliminary step to simply add your information to the registry. The physician will not complete your entire profile.

Under Ohio medical marijuana laws, you must visit your CTR physician at least once per year to maintain participation in this program. Since March 2020, physicians have been allowed to conduct telemedicine visits to recommend and renew medical marijuana approvals. Though this approval was set to expire on December 31, 2021, the State Medical Board of Ohio voted to extend it until at least March 2022.

Step 2: Complete Your Registry Profile

Once the physician enters your basic information into the Patient and Caregiver Registry, you will receive an email that prompts you to log into the registry.

From there, you will confirm and complete the rest of the application, as well as pay the fee. Patients will pay $50 per year to maintain their registration, and caregivers will pay $25 per year.

Step 3: Purchase Marijuana Through an Approved Ohio Dispensary

In Ohio, a CTR physician can recommend a supply of medical marijuana that will cover a period of up to 90 days. This recommendation can also include up to three refills. If deemed appropriate for the patient, this totals a supply of 360 days.

Once you complete your application in the Patient and Caregiver Registry, you will receive notification of your approval status. If you’re approved, then you will receive an official Patient and Caregiver Registry card.

You can use this card to legally purchase medical marijuana from an Ohio dispensary. Yet, this doesn’t give you clearance to shop just anywhere. Rather, you will need to make sure that the dispensary you visit has received a Certificate of Operation from the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy.

To make sure that you’re purchasing from a valid location, reference the state’s Medical Marijuana Dispensary Map. On this site, there is also a PDF you can download, listing all of the approved Ohio medical marijuana dispensaries with Certificates of Operation. The list is sorted by county for easy review.

When you visit the dispensary, the staff there should be able to guide you on the proper dosage for your needs. They can also recommend specific products to try. Before you head out, remember to bring the following information with you:

  • Your active registry card
  • An associated government-issued ID
  • Proof of your active recommendation

Registering as a Caregiver

Are you currently serving as a caregiver for someone suffering from one of the approved conditions listed earlier? If so, then you can register to purchase medical marijuana for that patient, as long as you know the right steps to follow.

First, the patient must connect with a CTR physician, using the steps detailed above. Once they have established that relationship, they will need to let the physician know that they would like you to serve as their official caregiver.

Once that occurs, the physician can create a profile for you in the Patient and Caregiver Registry. Note that there are two conditions that necessitate the use of a caregiver for a patient seeking medical marijuana in Ohio. These include:

  • If the patient is a minor
  • If the patient has a court-approved legal guardian

When you receive the login e-mail, you can follow the on-screen instructions to complete your profile in the registry. The Board of Pharmacy will then review and approve your application. Once you receive your card, you will be eligible to purchase medical marijuana for the patient from an approved Ohio dispensary.

Registering With a Veteran or Indigent Status

Patients who register under the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program and qualify for veteran or indigent status can be eligible for a fee reduction of up to 50%. This also applies to caregivers who are representing those patients.

To apply for this benefit, the CTR physician who initially enters your profile into the Patient and Caregiver Registry must make a note that indicates you are registering with a special status. In addition, the Board of Pharmacy will require you to submit separate documentation to the state that details your qualification.

The Board of Pharmacy will need to approve those documents before you can complete your registry profile and pay the application fee. Note that if the documents and application do not meet the guidelines required for approval, then neither the patient nor the caregiver will receive the fee reduction. This is the case even if the caregiver does qualify for special status.

Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to provide.

Applying For Veteran Status

To apply for veteran status, you will need to provide a copy of any of the following documents:

  • Department of Defense Identification Card
  • DD214, DD215, or National Guard Bureau Military Discharge Certificate
  • Report of Separation from the National Archives National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Mo
  • Veterans Identification Card from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

The proof document you provide must show that your veteran status qualifies as any of the following:

  • Honorable
  • General
  • General under honorable conditions
  • Discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable

The exception to the above rule is the provision of a Veterans Identification Card. Make sure that the document you select includes your date of birth, and follow the registry’s instructions to email a copy to the State Board of Pharmacy.

Applying for Indigent Status

There are two ways you can apply for indigent status. Under the first, you will need to provide a letter or another type of documentation that certifies your participation in either of the following types of programs:

  • The Federal “Social Security Disability Income” (SSDI) Program
  • The “Supplemental Security Income” (SSI) Disability Programs

To apply this way, you will need to provide documentation that proves your identity. In addition, you will also need to share details about your monthly Social Security Disability Income or the Supplemental Security Income benefits that you will receive throughout the calendar that you’re registering within.

The other way to apply for indigent status is to provide a letter or another type of documentation that certifies your active enrollment in a State Retirement System that offers monthly benefits. This may include any of the following types of programs:

  • A state public employees retirement system
  • A state teacher retirement system
  • A police retirement system
  • A fire retirement system

To apply this way, you will also need to provide documentation that proves your identity. In addition, you will need to share the amount of monthly disability benefits that you will receive throughout the calendar year that you’re registering within.

Help With Obtaining a Medical Marijuana Card in Ohio

While the steps above might sound simple in theory, this can be a complicated and time-consuming process. That is especially the case if you’re suffering from a qualifying condition and do not have the ability to complete the steps on your own.

That’s where we come in.

Our team offers a simple turnkey solution to help you obtain the treatment that you need. The process is straightforward and easy to follow. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Book an Appointment With Our Clinic

Due to COVID-19 protocols, all of our clinics are available online. This allows you to connect with a qualifying physician with just a few clicks! The only items you’ll need to bring to your appointment include:

  • Proof of Ohio residency
  • Proof of your identity

A driver’s license or state-issued ID card will qualify for these requirements. If you don’t have either of these, then we will accept a range of other documents to prove your residency and identity. You can read the full list of acceptable documents on our Process page.

Our doctors are experienced, qualified, and certified to provide medical marijuana recommendations for qualifying patients.

Step 2: Register With the Ohio Patient and Caregiver Registry
Our qualified physicians can create your profile and begin your registration through the Ohio Patient and Caregiver Registry. If you choose not to go this route, then you can create your own profile using the information that our doctors supply to you.

Step 3: Receive Your Medical Marijuana Card
Once you complete your application and pay the associated fee, you should receive your approval letter, along with your medical marijuana card, shortly thereafter.

Once you receive your card in the mail, you can begin purchasing medical marijuana from an approved Ohio dispensary. Note that under Ohio law, your active patient or caregiver registration will be valid for one year following the date of issuance.

Our team will contact you as the expiration date approaches. We can schedule a quick consultation to review and renew your treatment plan.

Learn More About Medical Marijuana in Ohio

Are you an Ohio resident looking to learn more information about how the medical marijuana program works in your state? If so, we’re happy to help. While the above guide covers most of the basics, there are still other details about the Ohio medical marijuana program that you’ll need to know as you start the process.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how the Doctors of Cannabis program works, then feel free to contact us today.