The crop of doctors who can recommend weed for medical marijuana patients in Ohio keeps growing.
The State Medical Board of Ohio this month awarded certificates to recommend medical marijuana to 53 physicians across the state, including nine from Cincinnati.
Previously, five Cincinnati-area doctors were among 36 physicians across the state who were awarded certificates to recommend in April.
The certificates pave the way for doctors to recommend weed to treat nearly two dozen medical conditions under Ohio’s new Medical Marijuana Control Program.
Doctors applying for certificates must have an active license to practice medicine in Ohio, be registered with the state tool used to track the dispensing of prescription drugs and take two hours of classes on diagnosing and treating conditions with medical marijuana.
In addition, they must have no financial interests in medical marijuana companies.
Doctors can apply for certificates any time.
Patients won’t have access to medical marijuana until Ohio’s program goes live, which is supposed to happen Sept. 8.
Even then, the state agencies regulating Ohio’s medical marijuana program have acknowledged that not all growers, processors and dispensaries will be fully operational by the launch date.
So far, 25 provisional licenses for large and small marijuana growers have been granted by the Ohio Department of Commerce.
But no other marijuana businesses have been licensed, and the growers still need to obtain certificates of operation from the state to get their businesses started.
Experts say it takes at least two to three months for marijuana plants to reach maturity, and that doesn’t include the time it takes to harvest, process and have the marijuana inspected.
Those are all required steps under Ohio’s medical marijuana law before weed could be made available to patients through licensed retail dispensaries.
Medical marijuana patients would be required to sign up on a patient registry being set up by the State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy to receive a patient card necessary to buy weed from a dispensary.
Up to 57 dispensary licenses are expected to be granted sometime later this month, giving the operators just over three months to build and set up shop before the marijuana program’s launch date.