A growing concern for Ohio’s medical marijuana patients now that the state of Ohio has declared a shelter in place order is how to gain and maintain access to both their cannabis medication and their recommending physicians. Since many MMJ patients require cannabis medicines for life-sustaining reasons, Ohio has officially announced that state dispensaries will remain open.

Patient Recommendations and Renewals Via TeleMed 

Last week, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced the implementation of TeleMed, a virtual medical service provider that connects patients with their doctors for a live online medical consultation. TeleMed offers a practical solution for many Ohioans looking to contact not only their medical marijuana doctors, but also all of their health care professionals while on extended periods of physical distancing.

As Medicate OH reported earlier last week, many of Ohio’s MMJ patients are among the “high-risk” population. While the Ohio Board of Pharmacy issued this advice to patients, they did not further specify how Ohio’s medical marijuana patients unfamiliar with TeleMed technology would be handled for Ohio MMJ Patients. However, the Board did issue parameters for MMJ patients whose cards are about to or have recently lapsed. The state is relaxing restrictions for the yearly renewal, permitting the temporary use of birth certificates for all qualifying minor MMJ patients.

Due to the closure of 181 BMV locations around the state, the Board of Pharmacy also permits the temporary use of expired identification cards for patient renewal, as well as caregiver registrations.

Ohio’s Stay-At-Home Order

Effective at 11:59 p.m. tonight, Ohio begins its authorized stay-at-home order. Currently, the state reports there are 442 confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout Ohio in 46 different counties.

Gov. Mike DeWine expressed the seriousness of this order: “Let’s not get hung up on terminology, this is still an executive order, not an option.” A copy of the order can be viewed here.

Ohio’s Director of Public Health Amy Acton echoed DeWine’s sentiment and stated that all Ohioans are required to follow this protocol through April 6th. At that time the order will be reassessed. There are a few key noted exceptions to the stay-at-home order, which include:

  • Health
  • Safety
  • Obtaining necessary supplies
  • Outdoor activities (walking dogs, etc.)
  • Work that is deemed essential by the Department of Homeland Security 
  • Taking care of family/neighbors

A Resource For Ohio’s Medical Marijuana Patients

In addition to the stay-at-home order and the relaxed restrictions on the renewal process for Ohio’s medical marijuana cardholders, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (OMMCP) officially issued an order stating that medical marijuana facilities need to stay open:

“On March 22, 2020, Ohio Department of Health Director, Dr. Amy Acton, issued a Director’s Order to Stay at Home. This order permits individuals to leave their residences to work for or obtain services through a healthcare and public health operation. 

The order further states that licensed medical marijuana dispensaries are considered a healthcare and public health operation and will not be closed as a result of the order.”

— Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program

MedicateOH is continuing to follow this important story and will bring you updates as they become available. Make sure to like Medicate OH on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date with the latest information on how COVID-19 is affecting Ohio’s MMJ patients.

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