Proposed limits on how much medical marijuana Ohio patients could buy and possess would be among the strictest the country.
Patients could buy and possess up to 6 ounces of plant material or marijuana products containing the equivalent amount of THC in a 90-day period. That puts Ohio on par with New Jersey and Washington D.C. as the most restrictive states among 13 regulators compared Ohio with.
Ohio’s medical marijuana law allows patients with 20 medical conditions to buy and use marijuana if recommended by a doctor. Smoking the plant is not allowed, but dispensaries can sell plant material and oils for vaping, tinctures, patches and marijuana-infused oils and foods.
The law limits patients to buying and possessing at most a “90-day supply,” but doesn’t define how much that is. On Thursday, the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy released draft rules detailing the allowable amounts.
Most states limit the amount of “usable marijuana” someone can buy, whether that’s plant material or marijuana-infused cookies. Ohio regulators are proposing limiting supply by product’s amount of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana that generates a high.
Of the 28 medical marijuana states, Ohio would be the first to calculate limits this way.
“I think this is the right approach because we’re in the middle of the pack of states that have adopted this,” Steven Schierholt, executive director of the State Board of Pharmacy, told the Ohio Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee on Thursday. “We’ve benefited form what other states have done and have the benefit of their successes and failures.
Pharmacy board officials said the amounts were determined after looking at other state policies, clinical research and data about adverse effects.
Chris Lindsey, senior legislative counsel for pro-marijuana group Marijuana Policy Project, said the initial recommendations were not overly restrictive. He said dosage and supply are tricky limits for the state to set because doctors can’t prescribe how much patients should consume.
Patients could mix and match products but each amount added together could not exceed a total 90-day supply. So if a patient bought 70 days worth of plant material, he or she could not buy more than 30 days worth of vaping oils or edibles.
The proposed limits:
- 6 ounces of plant material with THC levels below 23 percent
- 4 ounces of plant material with THC levels above 23 percent — the maximum level allowed is 35 percent
- 40.5 grams of THC in vaping oils (220 mg per day)
- 19.8 grams of THC in transdermal patches (450mg per day)
- 9 grams of THC in edibles, oils and tinctures taken orally (100 mg per day)
Plant material was split in two categories because research reviewed by the pharmacy board showed THC was more effective with fewer side effects at levels below 23 percent.
An ounce of plant material weighs about 28 grams and could be used in anywhere from 30 to 50 rolled joints.
The proposed rules would also impose a $100 fee on each strain or dosage of a product, likely paid by the product manufacturer. Advisory committee members expressed concern about patients being able to afford the products.
Schierholt said they want feedback and don’t want to drive up costs for patients.
Public comment is being accepted on the proposal through March 10. The rules will go through two more stages of review and comment before being finalized.
Lindsey said state officials have done a good job drafting regulations for a workable program that serves patients.
“There have been many ways they could have derailed this process and they haven’t done that,” Lindsey said.