Toward the end of this month, a special committee will sit to assess the different petitions that Ohioans submitted calling for additional conditions to be included on the list of ailments for which one can obtain a medical cannabis card.
The meeting this month comes after the end of a window within which people could send in their requests for the conditions they want to see on the qualifying list for access to medical cannabis.
Medical marijuana became legal in 2016 and 21 qualifying conditions were listed in that law. However, the law also granted the Medical Marijuana Board permission to review that list and add more conditions once each year.
The sale of medical marijuana is scheduled to start sometime this month and already more than 4,000 residents have secured medical marijuana cards. According to estimates, three in 10 Ohioans could qualify for a medical marijuana card even if the list of qualifying conditions stays as it was when the enabling law was passed.
The window within which interested parties could submit their petitions for additions to the list of qualifying conditions started on Nov. 1 and ended at the stroke of midnight on December 31. By the close of the window, 110 petitions had been submitted.
Those 110 petitions are now with a committee of lawyers advising the medical board. The lawyers will select some conditions indicated in the petitions and submit their shortlist to a committee that will meet tomorrow (January 9).
That committee will decide which of the conditions on the shortlist can be forwarded to medical experts for additional review and benchmarking in other states where medical cannabis programs exist.
The experts will then report back to the committee so that a report is presented to the full Medical Marijuana Board for a final vote. The Medical Board should have made their final decision by June 30, 2019, so that the list of qualifying conditions can be updated thereafter.
Some of the conditions in the petitions received include insomnia, depression and anxiety. Others are opioid addiction, acne, fibromyalgia and chronic pain. However, it should be noted that some of the petitions mentioned conditions that already appear among the 21 qualifying conditions listed in the 2016 law.
Currently, 33 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. That notwithstanding, cannabis remains a Schedule 1 substance under federal law, so it is hard for scientists to study the plant and its derivatives in this prohibitionist legal environment.
Nonetheless, there are signs that the stringent controls will ease up a bit because already, the FDA has licensed a drug derived from cannabis, and permission was granted to a group of researchers at UC San Diego to import cannabis capsules from Canada for research purposes. Green Growth Brands Inc. (CSE: GGB) (OTCQB: GGBXF) and Lexaria Bioscience Corp. (CSE: LXX) (OTCQX: LXRP) hope that the environment will become conducive soon enough at the federal level so that the industry in the U.S. can grow based on the findings of scientific studies.
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