Anticipated to be effective on September 8, 2017, the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program sets forth the rules that clearly identify the shapes and forms medical marijuana will be allowed to take, as well as the methods by which patients can ingest or apply such forms. The allowed forms closely adhere to the program’s medical intentions, resembling other pharmaceutical delivery systems, and do not include commonly depicted methods of recreational consumption, such as smoking. Those interested in applying for a processor and/or dispensary license should confirm their compliance on a state-to-state basis, due to the variations of each state’s medical marijuana program.

Rules 3796:8-2-01, et seq. set out the approved forms of and methods of administration for medical marijuana. Prior to preparing processing applications, it is critical for any processor to understand the approved forms of medical marijuana in order to know what types of medical marijuana they should be processing in their facilities, because not all states have the same approved forms. For example, some states allow vaping and edibles, while others prohibit patches and creams. Similarly, knowledge of the allowed forms and methods of medical marijuana is also important for dispensaries in order to comply with Rule 3796:8-2-01, which states that a dispensary shall not purchase, store, possess or offer for sale any new form or method not approved by the state board of pharmacy.

The approved forms and methods of medical marijuana administration are:

  1. Oil, tincture, capsule, or edible form of oral administration;
  2. Metered oil or solid preparation for vaporization;
  3. Patches for transdermal administration or lotions, creams, or ointments for topical administration; and
  4. Plant material for administration with the use of vaporizing devices.

There are also certain limitations that apply to vaporizing devices:

  1. No vaporizing device, the design of which places medical marijuana in direct contact with the device’s heating element, may be used to vaporize the resin contained within, or an extract of, medical marijuana;
  2. Vaporizing devices shall not be capable of being heated to temperatures at which medical marijuana plant material will burn.

If the above list seems limited, forms or methods of administration can be added by submitting a petition in accordance with ORC section 3796.061 to the state board of pharmacy. However, the board shall only be required to consider the following when looking at such petition:

  1. Scientific evidence, capable of being reproduced by multiple scientific experts, supporting the addition of the form or method of administration;
  2. An opinion from at least one scientific expert supporting the addition of the form or method of administration. The scientific expert must have specialized knowledge acquired through experience, education or observation, or study that is not possessed by the average layperson;
  3. The extent to which the prospective form or method of administration is generally accepted by the medical community;
  4. Information or studies known to the petitioner regarding any benefit or adverse effects from the use of the proposed form or method of administration; and
  5. Benefits to approving the proposed form or method of administration.

Along with rules that prohibit products from being shaped like cartoon characters or animals, these restrictions on form are intended to avoid attracting children and to establish strong differences from, and avoid any confusion with, recreational use. As the Medical Marijuana Control Program continues to establish itself, we will update you on future rule changes or new filings.