Ohio's medical marijuana law went into effect Thursday but there is little in place to actually put the law into practice.
"Today we start the process in Ohio for the functioning legal medical marijuana market," said Tom Haren, a Westlake attorney who has done extensive research on the issue. "Nothing magical is really happening today."
Ohio residents cannot legally buy marijuana anywhere in the state. Nor can an Ohio doctor help a patient get it anywhere else.
"I consider today a small step in the right direction but not a victory," said Amanda Candow, a Mentor-On-The-Lake resident who has multiple sclerosis.
Candow admits to smoking marijuana four times a day to help combat the pain and stiffness in her legs.
"For it [marijuana] to be effective, I have to use it every time it wears off," said Candow who added the pain relief she gets from smoking marijuana lasts about three hours.
Even under Ohio's new medical marijuana law, Candow is committing an illegal act, and she knows it. Only vaporizers, oils and edibles are allowed.
"I was hoping for something more protective of patients right out of the gate," she added.
According to Haren, one of the first steps in making the law functional is to create a certification process for Ohio doctors to be able to recommend medical marijuana to patients in the state. But he said that won't happen for another year.
For those Ohio residents thinking about going to Michigan, which has its own medical marijuana law, Michigan attorney Doug Mains said that has its own risks.
"I would avoid at all costs crossing state lines when it comes to transporting marijuana because that's a very quick way to get yourself into trouble with the federal government," he said.
Michigan law states that only Michigan residents can get a recommendation from a doctor in that state to use marijuana there. If an Ohio resident gets a recommendation from an Ohio doctor to use marijuana, he or she can go to Michigan and buy it from a dispensary there. But the marijuana purchased there must be consumed there.