Ohio patients will not be able to buy marijuana on Sept. 8, the date the state was to launch its medical cannabis program.
The Ohio Department of Commerce, which has been setting up Ohio’s medical marijuana industry, told state Sen. Kenny Yuko this week about the delay. Yuko, a Cleveland-area Democrat, has championed medical marijuana in Ohio.
Ohio legalized medical marijuana in June 2016, saying people could buy it out of state if they had a doctor’s note – although few people have taken that option. Meanwhile, the state has been working toward setting up its own marijuana growers and dispensaries.
Patients were to be able to purchase Ohio-grown marijuana late this summer, but the rollout has been fraught with hiccups and delays. This week, the state admitted it would miss its deadline. Marijuana plants aren’t growing in Ohio, so the drug won’t be available for people by Sept. 8.
“This is a miserable failure,” Yuko told The Enquirer. The patients who were hoping to use marijuana to cope with pain, seizures, digestive problems and the like “had so much hope and trust,” Yuko said. “It was taken away.”
Nicole Scholten has been working toward marijuana legalization in hopes of using the drug as a treatment for her 14-year-old daughter, Lucy, who has debilitating epilepsy. The delay past Sept. 8 doesn’t surprise her.
“I think that the law was written not with patients at the fore,” Scholten explained. Still, she does think the program will launch eventually.
“I believe that Ohio is, thankfully, on the road. But the fact is that we’re still on the road, rather than a place where very sick people are being helped,” Scholten said. “Every day that this is delayed, people who are very sick, whose medicine is not working for them, they’re making the terrible decisions to uproot their families, to engage in criminal behavior (to get marijuana) or to wait.”