The first citation for misusing medical marijuana has been issued by the state just three weeks after the first sales were made.

The disclosure about the citation came during Thursday's meeting of the state's Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee.

The state received a complaint from a children services agency, said Erin Reed, a lawyer with the state Board of Pharmacy.

Little about what happened has been released, and the patient's identity is confidential.

The patient's privileges to buy medical marijuana have been suspended, and the person can appeal the loss of those privileges to the Pharmacy Board.

"One of those responsibilities [of being on the patient registry] is to secure the medical marijuana that has been dispensed so that it's not accessible for those to whom it's not dispensed," Reed said.

The citation could be a result of a patient not being familiar with the all requirements under the law, Thomas Rosenberger, executive director of the National Cannabis Association of Ohio, a trade association, said after the meeting.

"There are a lot of safeguards in the program," he said.

Under the state's medical marijuana law, patients get a recommendation from a doctor that allows them to buy marijuana.

For now, the only product available for purchase is cannabis flower, which can't legally be smoked. Instead, users must vape the flower. As processors come on line, products like pills, edibles and oils will give customers more choice.

So far, marijuana sales have totaled $502,961 and 68.22 pounds of marijuana have been sold.

Of the 17,077 people who have obtained a recommendation for marijuana, 12,873 have bought it.

The rollout of the program is going about as expected, Rosenberger said.

"Our patient counts are on target. Sales are strong," he said.

People with any of 21 conditions can obtain a recommendation for marijuana.

Some who have obtained recommendations have multiple conditions, but in half of the cases, people cited chronic pain as the reason they wanted marijuana. Others say they suffer from post-traumatic stress, cancer or fibromyalgia.

In 83 instances, people with a terminal illness (a life expectancy of less than six months) have obtained a recommendation.

Patients in every age group have obtained recommendations for medical marijuana with about half aged 40 to 59.

So far, 374 physicians have been approved to write recommendations for patients. Of that number, 177 have actually issued recommendations.

Other parts of the medical marijuana business continue to ramp up.

Of the 56 dispensaries approved to sell marijuana, six are up and running. None of the five approved in Franklin County are open.

 

Columbus Dispatch report Megan Henry contributed to this report. Contact Mark Williams at mawilliams@dispatch.com.