What is Senate Bill 9? Impact on Ohio medical marijuana program patients


“(Senate Bill 9) has the potential to disrupt our state’s fledgling medical cannabis industry and compromise patient care,” Dr. Bridget Cole Williams

Dr. Bridget Cole Williams is a board-certified family physician, author, and the CEO of DrBridgetMD.com a medical cannabis and integrative health clinic. She has 17 years of experience in family medicine with The Cleveland Clinic.

The English scientist and philosopher Francis Bacon is credited with warning against any remedy that is worse than the disease.  

It’s an aphorism that applies to many disciplines beyond my own chosen field of medicine.

Take legislating, for example. Well-meaning legislators in the Ohio Senate have a goal that I and many other Ohioans share: Let’s improve the medical marijuana program in Ohio to ensure that more patients can benefit from this medicine. Let’s support a thriving industry providing a stable, economical, safe supply of cannabis for years to come.

More: Ohio lawmakers want to add conditions eligible for medical marijuana, increase dispensaries

The program is still young – less than seven years old – and there certainly are improvements we should make.

But Senate Bill 9 is not what the doctor ordered and does far more harm than good. The legislation has the potential to disrupt our state’s fledgling medical cannabis industry and compromise patient care.

Opinion: Smoke pouring from holes in Cranley’s plans for legal marijuana in Ohio

Let’s start with what’s right:

In alignment with the latest science, SB 9 expands the eligible conditions for medical marijuana.

Ohioans could now access medical marijuana for autism spectrum disorder and opioid use disorder. That’s a very good thing. The bill would also improve patient access by giving physicians the right to recommend cannabis at their discretion and removing fees for patient and caregiver cards. My colleagues and I have been advocating for these changes for years.

More: Two states legalized recreational marijuana in November election. What’s next for Ohio?

What Senate Bill 9 gets very wrong:

However, against the repeated testimony of doctors and industry experts for months, the bill would grant new cultivation and processing licenses, resulting in an alarming expansion of cannabis production at a time when Ohio is already grappling with a massive oversupply.

Ohio suppliers currently hold over 100,000 pounds of unsold medical marijuana, while patient enrollment remains stagnant.

The bill also continues to force patients to pay a sales tax for their medicine, creates a new layer of bureaucracy adding commissioners with lifetime appointments, and adds additional, unnecessary, expensive, and redundant testing requirements.

If the industry is economically unviable, patients would suffer. Dispensaries would have to cut staff, limiting access and increasing wait times. Varieties on the market would decline, limiting treatment options. The worst-case scenario is a total industry collapse, setting patient care back for years.

More: Medical marijuana nonprofit evolves as new CEO steps in

Despite widespread opposition from industry experts, the rush to push this bill forward raises serious concerns. Why do we need to increase marijuana production when patient numbers aren’t growing, and existing data indicates an excess supply? It is crucial to prioritize patients’ interests and the industry’s stability.

We must take a step back and reevaluate the implications of Senate Bill 9. Instead of hastily advancing this legislation, we should focus on addressing the oversupply issue and ensuring that patients have access to the best quality and appropriately regulated medical marijuana.

By engaging in meaningful discussions, incorporating industry feedback, and prioritizing patient well-being, we can protect the integrity of Ohio’s medical marijuana program and secure a sustainable future for those who rely on its benefits.

More: Will Ohio legalize marijuana? Here’s what lawmakers, advocates and experts say

As a physician deeply involved in the medical marijuana program in Ohio, I have helped patients access this proven medicine as a valuable therapeutic option. I have seen lives changed through the treatment of chronic pain and other symptoms associated with conditions such as cancer, traumatic brain injury, and ulcerative colitis. Research continues to shed light on its efficacy in providing relief and improving the quality of life for patients facing various health challenges.

Senate Bill 9 is like prescribing an opioid when the appropriate treatment is two aspirin. Let’s not kill the patient with the cure.  

Dr. Bridget Cole Williams is a board-certified family physician, author, and the CEO of DrBridgetMD.com a medical cannabis and integrative health clinic. She has 17 years of experience in family medicine with The Cleveland Clinic.

Read more here: Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *