New Qualifying Conditions Delayed In Ohio

The Ohio State Medical Board has decided to table a vote on adding autism spectrum disorder and anxiety as new qualifying conditions allowed in the state’s medical marijuana program. Our Green Health Docs Advocacy Team explores why the Ohio State Medical Board made this admittedly frustrating decision.

State Medical Board Delays New Qualifying Conditions

The Ohio State Medical Board met early Wednesday morning (6/12/19) to discuss adding five new conditions to Ohio’s current list of qualifying conditions. These qualifying conditions allow a patient to obtain a medical marijuana card in Ohio. For example, if you suffer from PTSD or have severe, chronic or intractable pain from an ailment, you would be able to obtain an Ohio medical marijuana card. This card grants a patients access to buy, possess, use and transport medical cannabis in the state of Ohio. Below is a look at the conditions currently accepted in the Buckeye State.

The Ohio State Medical Board considered adding five new conditions. This came in late 2018 after the state asked patients and advocates to submit their suggestions for possible new conditions to be added to the state’s program.

The conditions eventually considered included: insomnia, depression, anxiety, autism and opioid addiction recovery. After careful review, the Ohio State Medical Board decided to reject insomnia, depression and opioid addiction at this time. The board had previously hinted at this rejection over a month ago, citing a lack a scientific evidence.

The conditions many experts were expecting to see approved today were autism and anxiety. Unfortunately, during the Ohio State Medical Board meeting this morning in Columbus, it was decided to table voting on these two conditions.

This places both anxiety and autism in a state of limbo in Ohio and leaves literally thousands of patients wondering when, or if, they will ever be able to receive treatment for their conditions with Ohio-grown medical marijuana.

Why Did The State Table New Qualifying Conditions: Autism & Anxiety?

It is unclear why the state opted to delay their vote on anxiety and autism, but there is some speculation as to why this happened. The most logical theory is that there just wasn’t enough votes to pass either condition.

By skipping a vote today, austim and anxiety are not out-and-out rejected. Rather, they are tabled so that more research can be conducted. This would allow one more argument to be made to the Ohio State Medical Board. Such an argument could shift the opinion of any board members who may have otherwise voted to reject the two conditions.

Speculation & Reasons For Delay

Some have speculated that the state is simply stalling the program. There are high product costs, limited availability and only a handful of dispensaries open. There’s an even smaller amount of Ohio medical marijuana cultivators operating. It’s possible the Republican-led Ohio government might be wanting to squeeze the program out of existence. Delaying a vote might do just that. It would place more strain on an industry that is already straining. But that’s just not likely, especially with Ohio Republican John Boehner now actively lobbying for cannabis.

Frankly, it’s more likely that the board wants a passing vote on at least one new qualifying condition and they are just holding out to ensure a good vote.  After all, if Ohio adds anxiety to their list of qualifying conditions, they would become one of the first states to do so. Making history like that requires sound reasoning and plenty of evidence to support that it’s a good idea.

According to Cincinatti.com, the Board President Dr. Michael Schottenstein, was the one to suggest delaying the vote. This was because there are two new board members who had not yet been able to review all the documents and research. Schottenstein noted that there are over 2000 pages of expert testimony.

That being said, Dr. Schottenstein certainly made his own skeptical opinion on medical cannabis known in the meeting. “I’m swallowing hard to even consider indications for medical marijuana for these conditions, given the very real concerns that I have about this drug,” Schottenstein stated. “So if I have the time to educate myself or to hear from additional experts, to meet about it, and to either solidify my opinion or to provoke second thoughts, I’m glad for that.”

What Happens Next?

Our team at Green Health Docs should know more tomorrow during the June 13th meeting of the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program board. We should get a timeline for when to expect another vote from the Ohio State Medical Board.

In the meantime, watch this space for more news. And if you have any questions about obtaining your Ohio medical marijuana card, simply give us a call at 1-877-242-0362. Our support team is available to answer any of your questions about obtaining a medical marijuana card in Ohio, Maryland, Missouri and Oklahoma.