Last Thursday (September 27th) we hosted our inaugural Meetup (Columbus Cannabis Advocates, please join if you haven’t already!) and it was a smashing success. All told, we had 73 people drop by which packed our clinic! The composition of attendees included cannabis based businesses such as dispensaries, cultivators, media, insurance, banking and law firms as well as the local cannabis enthusiasts to residents looking to learn more about the space. The night was filled with tons of networking, connections, education, awareness and inspiration delivered in a ‘Town Hall’ setting. To thank everyone for attending the Meetup we made sure the booze was flowing, the food was plentiful and everyone left with awesome swag!
Given the rich dialogue and questions, we’re sharing our top takeaways from the event:
Community Feelings Range From Positive Skepticism – Optimism
When speaking individually to local residents as well as participation during the Town Hall, one common theme shined through: people are excited for this unchartered territory of medical marijuana. Folks who were the most bullish naturally feel cannabis should have never been illegal to begin with thus being quite vocal on the benefits of medical marijuana. Those who are embracing medical marijuana but still seeking further education found answers to their questions which ranged from personal benefits and employment challenges to understand the process of getting a medical marijuana recommendation.
Politicians Must Side With Medical Marijuana
Our corporate attorney, Danny Caudill of The Caudill Firm recently attended the National Cannabis Bar Association in Washington, DC hosted at Georgetown University. In attendance there were roughly ~300 lawyers from all over the US specializing in areas such as employment law, intellectual property, corporate law and many other disciplines. Danny’s biggest takeaway which he shared with the Meetup attendees was:
It behooves ALL politicians across the board to side with medical marijuana legalization irrespective of personal beliefs. The polls in all 50 states were in favor of medical cannabis so we should anticipate this movement to grow steadily within the next 5-10 years at the federal level. Cheers to GREEN states 🙂
Dispensaries Opening Up Soon(ish)
We were delighted to have Todd Yaross from CannaMed and Chris Welsh from Ohio Clean Leaf join us for the event! Perhaps the most common question residents and prospective patients had was, “When can we buy medicine?” This has been on the majority of people’s mind in the medical cannabis space. The exciting news is dispensaries are aiming to open their doors in late December or early January. CannaMed and Ohio Clean Leaf were both awarded cultivators licenses and they also shared their operations have plants growing at a rapid pace!
New Symptoms & Conditions Forthcoming
Currently Ohio has approved 21 symptoms and conditions in order to qualify for medical marijuana. We’ve followed other states closely over the past few years identified notable omissions from Ohio’s list. Those most common that are not state approved in Ohio include: insomnia, depression, eating disorders and anxiety. We’ve heard residents and businesses alike have made innumerable submissions to get the aforementioned ailments and others on the approved list. At the event, we had a lobbyist in attendance who also co-authored the House Bill 523 and he told the audience to expect new symptoms and conditions to be accepted/added to the state approved list. While a big miss by the state initially, including these much needed symptoms to the approved list is a win as it widens the qualified patient pool and will help thousands gain access to medical marijuana.
Opioid Crisis Hits Home
Throughout the evening several people courageously shared their own personal stories of how the opioid epidemic impacted them personally or those very close to them. At Ohio Green Team, we’re not exempt from this crisis as the founders AND physicians have endured family losses to this national crisis. The horror stories were met with overwhelming support and compassion from complete strangers which drove home the necessity of safe, all-natural alternatives in the form of medical cannabis.
Physician Excitement Is Growing
In addition to the dispensaries, the stars of the night were certainly the physicians which we had 5 in attendance who fielded an array of questions. They’ve had to experience the opioid epidemic first hand with many of the patients facing addiction challenges. With the legalization of medical marijuana, Dr. Drew Kowalewsky and Dr. Lee Bowman jumped at the chance to be on the forefront of the movement. They’ve both studied the risks and benefits of medical marijuana and quickly realized the positives far outweighed any negatives. Dr. Oza, who is a pain management specialist was quoted by saying, “It would be my life long dream as a physician to wean my patients off of suboxone and implement medical cannabis.” In the epicenter of opioid crisis down in Portsmouth and Chillicothe Ohio, Dr Stiltner is eager to open up an Ohio Green Team clinic, “The addiction rate is almost unbearable. I view medical marijuana as an enormous opportunity to help my community in a profound way.”
Wright-Patt Credit Union is Going Green
WPCU is Ohio’s largest member-owned credit union with over 320,000 members and assets in excess of $3.2 billion. We were honored to have WPCU’s Chief Legal Officer (Scott Everett) in attendance and he provide a significant announcement during the Town Hall session. Beginning November 1st, Wright-Patt will bank cannabis-based businesses! This is a huge milestone within the Ohio cannabis community because most federally-oriented banks refuse to support the movement as they subscribe to national laws. Wright-Patt will begin accepting applications in a couple weeks and promises a quick turnaround time to get your business on-boarded with the credit union. Double Cheers for Wright-Patt Credit Union supporting the revolution by going green and supporting cannabis companies in Ohio!
#NoMorePills & #YesWeCANnabis
The support for the medical marijuana movement in Ohio is undeniable. We will continue to educate, advocate and inspire as many as we can throughout Columbus and the state. Our rally cry of #NoMorePills and #YesWeCANnabis was very well received by all attendees and many media outlets. The Columbus Dispatch did a story on us which released last Friday given our mantra around #NoMorePills and the advocacy we’re doing in the community to help combat the opioid epidemic. We gave away 50+ #YesWeCANnabis shirts to valued members of the community so they too can spread the good word.