Medical marijuana advocates warn patients about schemes promising legal marijuana, doctor recommendations

By Jackie Borchardt (Cleveland.com)

Medical marijuana advocates say Ohio patients should be cautious of schemes promising patients a legal way to obtain marijuana before state-licensed dispensaries open here.

Ohio's medical marijuana law went into effect last week, but state officials have two years to set up the program. Until then, it's unknown how patients caught with marijuana will be treated under the law.

One Facebook post promises that, for $150, patients can get a Michigan medical marijuana card and a trip to buy marijuana there. Another offers to connect patients with marijuana-friendly Ohio doctors who will write them notes that can be used as a defense in court against possession charges, at a cost of $250.

Neither is a safe bet, advocates warn, though in the absence of details from state officials, many patients feel they have no choice.

Aaron Marshall, spokesman for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, said patients should watch out for scammers looking to make a quick buck off their illnesses. He said patients should instead talk to their current doctors but noted not many are eager to provide a medical marijuana recommendation right now.

What should patients watch out for? 

Brad White, a spokesman for patient advocacy group United Ohio, said there are real risks, if not problems, with the various marijuana services being offered. 

For starters, he said, obtaining a Michigan patient ID card would involve lying to the bureau of motor vehicles there about where you live. Transporting marijuana out of a legal state violates federal law. And affirmative defense notes obtained before the medical board issues guidance may not hold up in court. 

"There are some people willing to break the law because they believe it's worth it and that crossing the border is relatively low risk and that's their choice to believe it," White said. "There's no way in my mind that any patient should feel secure with medical marijuana in Ohio right now." 

 

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