The Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee is Ready

On October 7, 2016, leaders of the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate completed the appointments of the 14 members on the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee (the “Committee”). Governor John Kasich previously appointed eight persons to the Committee on September 23, 2016. The leaders of the Ohio House and Senate met the October 8, 2016 deadline to complete the appointments and it seems that Ohio is on its way to establishing the Medical Marijuana Control Program (the “Program”).

Pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code § 3796.021, the Committee was created in the State Board of Pharmacy and consists of 14 members from varying fields of expertise. The Governor was authorized to appoint two pharmacists, two physicians, an employer representative, an agriculture representative, a representative of persons involved in treatment of addiction, and an academic researcher. The Ohio Senate President was authorized to appoint a local law enforcement representative and a caregiver representative. The Senate Minority Leader was authorized to appoint a nurse. The Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives was authorized to appoint a representative of persons involved in the treatment of mental health and a patient representative. Lastly, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives was authorized to appoint a labor representative.

On September 23, 2016, Governor Kasich appointed the following persons to the Committee:

  • Curtis L. Passafume, Jr., member of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy, practicing pharmacist, and the Vice President for Pharmacy Health Services for OhioHealth
  • Stephanie M. Abel, practicing pharmacist working with The Ohio State University’s pain and palliative care program
  • Tony E. Coder, Jr., assistant director of the Drug Free Action Alliance
  • Michael G. Hirsch, owner-operator of Hirsch’s Fruit Farm
  • Dr. Jerry W. Mitchell, Jr., oncologist from the Zangmeister Center
  • Dr. Amol Soin, pain management doctor and member of the Ohio State Medical Board
  • Michael E. Stanek, member of the National Small Business Association Board of Trustees, member of the Board of Directors of the Council of Small Enterprises, member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Cleveland Partnership
  • Gary L. Wenk, professor at The Ohio State University, researcher of the endocannabinoid system.
On October 7, 2016, the leaders of the Ohio Senate and House of Representatives appointed the following to the Committee:
  • James “Ted” Bibart, attorney from Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, LLP who deals in legislative analysis and who testified in front of the Ohio House Medical Marijuana Task Force
  • Sheriff John Lenhart, Sheriff of Shelby County Ohio and 2015 Sherriff of the Year from the National Sherriffs’ Association
  • Jason Kaseman, political director for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union
  • Martin McCarthy, Jr., parent and nursing assistant
  • Nancy Walsh Mosca, a nurse and nurse educator
  • Marcie Siedel, executive director of Drug Free Action Alliance, a non-profit that serves the needs of those working to prevent substance abuse in Ohio, who has opposed the legalization of medical marijuana

The Committee is required to hold its initial meeting within 30 days after October 7, 2016 and pursuant to the statute, will be required to submit any recommendations related to the Program to the three state agencies tasked with implementing the Program: the State Board of Pharmacy, State Medical Board, and Department of Commerce. The appointees will serve (unless removed earlier by the persons who appointed them) until either the committee ceases to exist, or October 8, 2021, five years and 30 days after House Bill 523 became effective.

It will be illuminating to see the recommendations the Committee may provide to the various state agencies since their recommendations should indicate concerns or priorities in connection with the implementation of the Program. The rules and regulations for the Program must be established by September 7, 2017 and the Program is required by statute to be fully operational prior to September 8, 2018. From now until then, we look forward to decreasing the level of uncertainty surrounding the legalization of medical marijuana in Ohio.

Follow our Marijuana Law and Policy Group on LinkedIn for more information regarding this and other developments. If you have any questions, please contact Frantz Ward partners Patrick Haggerty or Hans Larsen.

Related professionals

Related practices