Conflict with the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee

By Cyndy Rees


More conflict with the implementation of Ohio's Medical Marijuana program.  This time questions are being raised via a resignation letter from the patient representative to the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee (MMAC).  In his letter of resignation to House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, James Bibart listed his concerns regarding the effectiveness of the committee.  Bibart states, "While it has been a labor of love in serving with my fellow members, I respectfully must say that the MMAC has proven not to have had the meaningful impact on the implementation of HB 523 I had hoped for or anticipated."

Bibart goes on to discuss that HB 523 called for a medical marijuana control commission but in fact, the body was made into an advisory committee. He cites the following issues with the committee meetings:

  • Lack of authority.
  • Absence of dialogue during the MMAC meetings.
  • No working group sessions among committee members.
  • Meeting materials not provided ahead of time to allow for review.

Bibart shares his concern that the lack of a strong commission as originally intended by HB 523 could result in a system similar to New York or Illinois where "the program is debilitated by bureaucracy" and fails to serve the needs of the patients and provide insight for the physician.

This isn't the first time serious questions have been raised regarding the implementation of the Medical Marijuana program.  In fact lawsuits have been filed challenging the evaluation process for the Medical Marijuana Cultivators licensees.  

3rd Rail asked Senator Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township) about Mr. Bibart's concerns.  "I am disappointed in the Department of Commerce.  We made it clear to the Director that we made it a felony to get a license, yet the Director thought it was okay to hire an individual with a felony to score the applications.  We put in a close loop medical marijuana system to take care of the problems associated with the cash intake and to deal with the system.  The director hasn't been moving on this thing.  With regards to the MMAC and other issues, the Department doesn't have a vision for where they want to go, and we painted a vision for them."