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Ohio's new medical marijuana law leaves more questions than answers

On September 8, Ohio joined the ranks of 24 other states, deciding through the polls to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. Advocates and patients who have championed this legislation are celebrating the move. Aside from its legality, however, the details of the bill are unclear and undecided, leaving doctors, patients, pharmacists and police officers wondering where to go from here. The only details known so far are that qualifying patients may possess a 90-day supply (exact amount still to be determined).

Doctors and patients in limbo

Ohio's new medical marijuana law allows for patients with conditions such as chronic pain, Alzheimer's, HIV/AIDS and cancer to begin use immediately. Growers and dispensaries, however, have not received the official go-ahead to sell, leaving patients wondering where to obtain their legal supply. Meanwhile, doctors are also in limbo, still waiting on the state Medical Board to issue prescription guidelines.

Because medical marijuana may not be available in the state for up to two years, even people who are deemed eligible to use it may find themselves facing possession charges. Ohio attorneys can counsel clients seeking to comply with the law. So, it is important to get legal help if you need advice or are facing marijuana charges.

When to expect more clarity

Under the new law, the state has 30 days to create a medical marijuana advisory committee and appoint its representatives. Once the committee has been formed, officials can begin the process of developing regulations and guidelines. While we should begin to get some answers shortly thereafter, the formal system isn't slated for roll out until late 2017 or early 2018.

Until then, qualifying patients should discuss the pros and cons with their physician and maintain accurate and up-to-date paperwork at all times. Patients should adhere to state law when operating a vehicle and seek legal representation immediately in the event of an arrest.

While there are many uncertainties at this time, your attorney will have the most up-to-date information regarding penalties, and state and federal laws. Soroka & Associates, LLC, is available 24/7 to answer your call, meet with you, and communicate with the police on your behalf.

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