The Ohio House Government Oversight Committee held its fourth hearing April 27 on legislation that would expand the state’s medical cannabis program.
Senate Bill 261, sponsored by Sen. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, would streamline the medical cannabis business licensing process and allow physicians to recommend cannabis for any medical condition in cases where they “reasonably” believe it will help a patient, according to a FOX 8 report.
“It makes it more patient-centered, and as a physician, I’ve always been for making it patient-centered, that they can get it for the right conditions and the right way for a good price,” Huffman told the news outlet.
On the business licensing front, S.B. 261 would transfer most of the authority over Ohio’s medical cannabis program from the Board of Pharmacy to the Department of Commerce in a move that Huffman said will speed up the licensing process to keep up with the market’s demand.
Under current law, businesses seeking a medical cannabis license often go between the Board of Pharmacy and the Department of Commerce in the licensing process, he told FOX 8.
“It all moves over to the commerce department to provide one uniform place for businesses to get their answers and develop their business,” Huffman said.
The Ohio Senate approved S.B. 261 in December, and the legislation now awaits further debate in the House Government Oversight Committee, according to FOX 8.
There are 58 licensed medical cannabis dispensaries currently operating in Ohio, the news outlet reported, and 137,870 patients are registered in the program.
The Board of Pharmacy voted last year to make 73 additional medical cannabis dispensary licenses available in the state to address patient complaints about the lack of retail access and high prices. This retail expansion is still underway; the board received more than 1,450 applications for the new retail licenses in November and conducted a lottery-style drawing to determine which companies would receive provisional licenses. A review of the conditional winners is still in progress.