The ability to obtain medical marijuana through Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) involves just three steps.
You must first visit with a physician who can confirm that you have one of medical conditions that would qualify you for treatment of the condition using medical marijuana.
Your physician will then create your profile in Ohio’s Patient and Caregiver Registry (PCR). Going through the PCR, you can then confirm and complete your registration for the MMCP.
Lastly, you can then purchase medical marijuana from an Ohio dispensary.
Step 1: Visit a CTR-Holding Physician
The first step to becoming a medical marijuana patient is to establish and maintain a physician-patient relationship with a physician holding an active certificate to recommend (CTR) issued by the State Medical Board of Ohio (SMBO).
An in-person visit with a certified physician is required at least once a year. On March 18, 2020, the SMBO met and voted to suspend enforcement of telemedicine regulations for licensees during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will allow physicians with a CTR to use telemedicine in place of in-person visits to make recommendations and renewals for medical marijuana.
The physician holding a CTR must confirm you have a qualifying condition to recommend the use of medical marijuana. Under Ohio law, the qualifying medical conditions are AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, Huntington’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and 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, and ulcerative colitis.
In February 2021, the SMBO determined the following conditions are considered covered by an existing qualifying condition: arthritis chronic migraines, and complex region pain syndrome. These conditions were determined to be covered by pain that is either chronic or intractable.
The physician will need the patient’s valid Ohio driver’s license, a valid Ohio identification card issued by the Ohio bureau of motor vehicles, or a valid United States passport. A certified physician can recommend up to a 90-day supply of medical marijuana with three refills (totaling up to 360-day supply if appropriate for the patient).
Step 2: Get Registered
Once a recommending physician has entered a patient (or caregiver) into the registry, the patient or caregiver will receive an email prompting them to login to their profile in the PCR. You can then complete your application and pay the annual registration fee, which is $50 for patients and $25 for caregivers. Those who qualify for indigent or veteran status may be eligible for fee reductions.
Step 3: Find a Dispensary
After receiving your PCR card, you may purchase medical marijuana from an Ohio dispensary that has received a certificate of operation by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy.
Dispensary staff will counsel you on the appropriate type and dose of product for your condition. Only patients with an active registry card, an active recommendation, and their associated government-issued identification card can purchase medical marijuana.
John DiBella is a medical marijuana advocate, owner of The Sanctuary Wellness Institute, and a writer. When he’s not writing blogs about medical marijuana, he enjoys hiking, camping and sailing.