Some in Ohio already receiving medical marijuana
People in our area are now getting medical marijuana. You may have seen signs popping up in the area talking about it.
They're offering medical marijuana cards, this all coming after a state law passed in September. The state is still working out rules and regulations on how to operate the medical marijuana program but people are already getting it in forms like edibles or oils.
People are coming to a small unmarked building called the Holistic Center off Holland-Sylvania and Angola roads.
Doctors consult with patients who then head north to Michigan to get medical marijuana. They leave this center with what's called an affirmative defense card. If they’re stopped with marijuana in Ohio that card is supposed to help them avoid prosecution.
With the card people in Northwest Ohio are getting medical marijuana. Getting the card starts with an appointment at the Holistic center. A licensed doctor comes in, reviews your medical records and if you suffer from one of the conditions spelled out in the state law allowing medical marijuana, you could get medical marijuana from a dispensary in Michigan that honors Ohio's law.
"We have doctors who are actually very passionate about providing alternative solutions to opioids," said Louis Johnson, of Omni Medical Services.
Omni medical services is helping clinics like this bring in the doctors. These doctors are not certified by the state to prescribe marijuana, that's because according to a spokeswoman with the state medical board the exact rules and regulations to certify these doctors is not finished.
The 13abc I-Team asked how can these groups can issue these cards as the state is still working out the rules and regulations?
“The state is still working out their infrastructure but the law says patients have the right to use marijuana and as long as a doctor certifies such then they have that right to do so," said Johnson.
Johnson says with the law in effect people are legally allowed to have medical marijuana.
"People no longer take opioids anymore because they switched over. There's a lot of clients that have called in say they don't want to take opioids anymore because they're scared of being hooked or getting addicted and turn to heroin," said Sarah Espino, manager of the Holistic Center.
Espino says she's already seeing a big response, people she says looking for help.
"It's pretty much getting your foot down, a baby step. This is breaking the groundwork," said Espino.
"Just because the state isn't ready yet doesn't mean a patient doesn't qualify to use it according to the law," said Johnson.
So medical marijuana does appear to be available right now. Earlier than some may have anticipated. The I-Team asked why issue these cards now and not just wait until the state figured out all of its rules and regulations?
“Because people are suffering now. They're suffering now, they were suffering last year. It took the state quite some time to get this right and now they have given the people a way to ease their suffering. So why do we need to wait for red tape when the law says they can do it now," said Johnson.
There are several medical conditions that allow for medical marijuana according to state law:
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy
Epilepsy or another seizure disorder
Inflammatory bowel disease
Pain that is either of the following:
Chronic and severe
Positive status for HIV
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Sickle cell anemia
Spinal cord disease or injury
Traumatic brain injury
As for this clinic, the card is only valid for 90 days. So patients need to have a follow up appointment.
They're taking new patients and they're having a walk-in clinic this Saturday.