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How to Become a Medical Marijuana Caregiver in Ohio

November is National Family Caregivers month, and gives us some time to recognize the impact and importance caregivers have on millions of Americans. Whether it be due to age or illness, many people rely on their family or another person to help them with daily tasks. This can be anything from bathing, to cooking, and from driving them to a physician’s office to administering various kinds of medicine, which may now include medical marijuana. If you currently live in Ohio and have questions about medical marijuana or becoming a medical marijuana caregiver, our team is here to help! Curious if you or a loved one qualifies for a recommendation? Complete our online eligibility survey to find out instantly!

 

What Do Caregivers Do?

Caregivers are a vital part of many American’s medical care, and the number of people who will become caregivers is expected to increase as time goes on. In 2015, the AARP funded an in-depth investigation into the demographics and prevalence of caregiving in the United States. Their study estimated that 43.5 million adults had provided unpaid care to a child or adult in the year prior [1]. The same study also found that eighteen percent of caregivers were providing care to multiple people. In 2020, it was found that this percentage had jumped to twenty four percent [2]. This increase may be due to many factors, such as the aging baby boomer population and a shortage of healthcare workers. 

Whatever the reason, both family and third-party caregivers are expected to become more important and common in the coming years. However, taking care of someone may not only mean helping them out of bed and preparing their meals. Caregivers are often responsible for working as an advocate of the patient under their care, and may have to take over the patient’s other responsibilities as well. This can include cleaning the house, grocery shopping, and speaking with the patient’s physicians on their behalf. 

These responsibilities may also change over time, whether due to the patient’s evolving situation or changes in law or other facets of society. In our case, we will focus on medical marijuana. House bill 523 was passed in 2016 and outlined the medical marijuana we have today. Of course, the lawmakers recognized the importance and prevalence of caregiving, and so wrote in ways for caregivers to get registered on behalf of a patient. While the laws may seem difficult at first glance, becoming a registered caregiver in Ohio may be easier than many people think. 

 

How to Become a Registered Medical Marijuana Caregiver

 

Ohio has a very straightforward method for caregivers and patients to gain access to medical marijuana, and it starts with the qualifying conditions. A patient will need to be diagnosed with at least one of Ohio’s twenty two qualifying conditions, a complete list of which can be found on our website

When the patient is at the certified physician’s office, and is diagnosed with a qualifying condition, the patient can then be entered into the Patient and Caregiver Registry. Both the patient and the caregiver will need a valid ID before being entered into the registry. Valid forms of identification include a driver’s license, an Ohio Identification card from the BMV, or a United States Passport. The patient will need to indicate to the physician that they are selecting another individual to serve as their caregiver. 

On the registry, a caregiver will be linked to a patient. Both the patient and caregiver will need a valid email address to receive a link to the registry. This link will take the caregiver/patient to a page where they may set up their account, pay for their card, and print out or access their medical marijuana card. Caregivers will have to pay a twenty five dollars annual fee. For caregivers, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy will perform a check on the indicated caregiver. If the caregiver is approved, both the patient and caregiver will be alerted, and the caregiver will be able to access their medical marijuana card. 

Not just anyone can be a registered caregiver, however, and the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program has outlined several eligibility requirements and made some expansions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time of writing, a caregiver may have up to three patients, and can apply via a Caregiver Registration Application [3]. Caregivers must be at least twenty one years of age, possess all required identification cards, and not be on any excluded individuals and entities list. More information on these requirements can be found on the OMMCP website. 

 

In Conclusion

Caregivers are an important part of the medical community and are often the main point of contact between patients and the outside world. They have many responsibilities and may perform for little or no cost. They may be appointed by the patient when visiting the certified physician’s office in order to purchase and carry medical marijuana on behalf of the patient. To speak with a DocMJ Patient Care Coordinator, please call (877) 899.3626 or use the Live Chat feature on our website. We’re here to help!

 

Resources

 

[1]  https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2015/caregiving-in-the-united-states-2015-report-revised.pdf

[2] https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2020/05/full-report-caregiving-in-the-united-states.doi.10.26419-2Fppi.00103.001.pdf

[3] https://www.medicalmarijuana.ohio.gov/Documents/CoronaVirus/Temporary%20Expansion%20of%20Caregiver%20Registration.pdf

[4]