As Ohio officials craft rules to govern the state’s medical cannabis program, some physicians are already writing patient recommendations and some of those patients are crossing the border into Michigan to procure products despite it being federally illegal to cross state lines with cannabis, the Associated Press reports.
Ohio’s medical cannabis law approved last year requires that dispensaries must be operating by September; however, some Detroit-area dispensaries are accepting out-of-state recommendations. Doctors at Toledo’s Omni Medical Services are relying on “affirmative defense” provisions included in the state law that would allow patients to use letters in court if cited or arrested for cannabis possession ahead of the state’s dispensaries opening.
In Ohio, possession of fewer than 100 grams is a minor misdemeanor which carries a maximum $150 fine, but could also force the offender to lose their driver’s license for up to six months.
Louis Johnson, managing director of Omni, said the company has conferred with both the Ohio Medical Board and attorneys before their doctors started making recommendations.
“We know what we’re doing is legal,” Johnson said in the report. “We’re out in the open. We’re not hiding in the dark. We’re not here to serve people to get high.”
The medical board said they would investigate complaints against doctors recommending medical cannabis but did not indicate whether those following the provision’s requirements could face discipline.
A bill to amend Ohio’s medical cannabis law to ban reciprocity with other state programs is still being considered in the legislature.