Affirmative Defense

What is required of a physician to recommend medical marijuana now that House Bill 523 is effective?

A physician is not permitted to issue a state of Ohio approved written recommendation to use medical marijuana until the physician has obtained a certificate to recommend from the State Medical Board of Ohio. Per House Bill 523, the rules outlining the standards and process needed to obtain such a certificate to recommend will be developed no later than September 8, 2017.

As a way to protect patients and parents or guardians of minor patients who seek to use marijuana prior to the creation and implementation of all the administrative rules necessary to run the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, HB 523 created an affirmative defense for certain marijuana-related crimes. According to the law, a patient, parent, or guardian can only raise an affirmative defense if they have, among other requirements, received a written recommendation from his or her doctor that certifies a certain number of criteria are met.  The Board recommends that physicians consult with their private legal counsel and/or employer for interpretation of the legislation.

The Board recognizes that as a result of the requirements of the affirmative defense, physicians will face potentially challenging inquiries from patients during the time period between the effective date of the statute and the date when the certificate to recommend process is fully operational with the Medical Board. The Medical Board will conduct a thorough process in the promulgation of rules related to the certificate to recommend.