Ohioans looking for medical marijuana this fall may not be able to get the drug as soon as it becomes legal in September.
Doctors in the state will be able to give patients written certification that they can use marijuana in certain forms starting in September. However, actually finding the drug through legal channels will be a challenge.
State Sen. Kenny Yuko has been working for more than a decade to legalize medical marijuana and says the state needs to get moving soon on the rules for who can get the drug, and where.
"First thing we need to concentrate on [is] formulating the growing rules so we know who exactly is going to be able to grow, how much you’re going to be able to grow, what your expectations are, what the costs are going to be.."
He says the state also needs to set up the "identification process going for patients and caregivers and make sure where that product’s going to be tested. And then make sure we get some dispensaries up-and-running."
After that, the state will need to determine "what it takes for a doctor to register with the state., what it’s going to take for a patient or a caregiver to get an ID card.”
Yuko says it could take two years to complete the entire process, including opening dispensaries. He also says Ohioans who want to drive out-of-state to buy medical marijuana are out of luck: Michigan will only sell to residents and Pennsylvania – which approved its own medical marijuana law earlier this year -- is on the same timeline as Ohio for opening dispensaries.