Ohio lifts restrictions on medical cannabis purchases


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

On April 17, a fresh set of rules were enacted regarding purchase limits for Ohio’s medical cannabis patients. Released by the state’s Board of Pharmacy, Ohio’s new patient purchase limits outlined precisely how much registered individuals can legally obtain within a 90 day-window.

According to officials from the Board, the updated process will make it easier for enrolled patients, caregivers and dispensaries to calculate medical cannabis entitlement during a three-month timeframe. 

Medical cannabis patients in Ohio will now receive their supply over two 45-day periods; one prescription will be available from days 1-45 and the other from days 45-90. The initial “fill” period will start directly after the patient receives a recommendation from a licensed doctor/healthcare physician.

An overview of Ohio’s new medical cannabis purchase limits

As per the new rules for Ohio’s medical cannabis patient purchase limits, the 45-day supply can be obtained at any point during the fill period. However, purchases will be capped once the patient is in possession of his or her 45-day supply; additional purchases will not be granted until the next fill window opens up. 

If a patient does not require the maximum amount allowed during a 45-day fill period, then it is not necessary that they purchase the total amount. However, the surplus cannot be carried over to the next fill period. Before the rules were updated, patients forfeited days from the 90-day total if they did not purchase their medicine on any given day(s).

The new patient purchase limits were established in accordance with a temporary measure to ensure life remains as normal as possible during the COVID-19 situation. Ohio Board of Pharmacy’s director approved the temporary novel coronavirus-related resolution during the second week of April; changes are expected to be approved by the full board in May.

How has COVID-19 affected Ohio’s medical cannabis industry?

As of April 26, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ohio rested at 15,360. Of that amount, there have been 687 deaths and 3,168 hospitalizations. However, despite its large population of approximately 11.6 million, Ohio has conducted just over 100,000 tests for COVID-19; ranking it one of the lowest nationally in regards to coronavirus testing. This information tells us that there could be more people infected unknowingly.

On the plus side, the COVID-19 infection count has sunk in Ohio’s nursing homes, long-term healthcare facilities and assisted living communities. State officials recently revised their data following claims of over-counting; on April 22, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) stated that the number of cases in the aforementioned facilities was 781, whereas data from the April 16 accounting claimed that the total case count was 57 more than the updated ODH report.

Orders for medical cannabis in Ohio can now be placed over the phone. Patients can also limit face-to-face contact amid COVID-19 by arranging to collect their product(s) from the exterior of their chosen dispensary.