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Health & Science

The Early Problems Emerge With Ohio's Medical Marijuana Law

photo of Jo Ingles interviewing Aaron Marshall

The state’s new medical marijuana law goes into effect tomorrow. That means Ohio can start putting the process in place to allow Ohioans to get medical marijuana. But that doesn’t mean Ohioans with illnesses that qualify for the drug can get or use it anytime soon. 

Doctors could begin writing letters for patients who qualify so if they're caught with small amounts of marijuana before the law is fully implemented, they wouldn’t be prosecuted.

But Aaron Marshall, a spokesman for a group that threatened to put the issue on the ballot before lawmakers acted, says it already looks like that might be a problem.

“Doctors are a little leery of recommending medical marijuana because it’s a new thing in this state. And we really think the state medical board and the board of pharmacy need to provide some clear guidance to doctors and patients.”

But that guidance may not come for months or even a year. Marshall says experience with other states shows if doctors in Ohio don’t get on board immediately, doctors from other states will likely set up practice here.

Marshall says if the state-run program runs into problems, his group could still work to put its own plan on the statewide ballot in the future.