Medical Marijuana + Telehealth: Best Practices During the Pandemic
March 27, 2020
Ohio’s healthcare professionals are leaning on telehealth during the COVID-19 outbreak to treat Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program patients. As a result of the outbreak, the Ohio Medical Board has authorized physicians who hold a Certificate to Recommend to use telemedicine in place of in-person visits to make recommendations and renewals for medical marijuana to qualifying patients. The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy adopted a similar measure by authorizing dispensaries — now classified as an “essential business” — to accept an order for the sale of medical marijuana over the phone.
During the pandemic, dispensaries are permitted to accept an order for the sale of medical marijuana over the phone from a patient or caregiver. Orders placed over the phone must be received (a) at the dispensary by dispensary employees, (b) through the dispensary’s telephone system, and (c) during business hours. Patients and/or caregivers must still pick up medical marijuana orders in person at the dispensary prior to the close of business the day the order was placed.
Dispensary employees are required to follow existing program regulations when selling medical marijuana ordered over the phone. As a reminder, dispensary employees must:
- Verify the patient/caregiver’s identity using photo identification and registry card before granting the patient/caregiver access to the dispensary department;
- Retrieve the order for medical marijuana after the patient/caregiver enters the dispensary department;
- Assist the patient/caregiver to an available point-of-sale;
- Verify the patient/caregiver’s identity using photo identification and registry card before completing the sale;
- Check OARRS to verify the sale will not exceed the 90-day supply;
- Complete the sales transaction in METRC; and
- Affix the label to the container or package after the patient/caregiver verifies the order is correct.
Any telephone order for medical marijuana that is not picked up by close of business on the day the order is received must be returned to the dispensary’s vault/safe.
Dispensary employees delivering telehealth services are prohibited from engaging in the following conduct:
- Cold-calling medical marijuana program patients;
- Dispensing medical marijuana outside of the dispensary;
- Accepting payment for medical marijuana outside of the dispensary; and
- Processing transactions within METRC or OARRS prior to the sale of medical marijuana.