Ohio Board to Decide if Bengals/Browns Fans Qualify for Medical Cannabis

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COLUMBUS, Ohio- Rooting for Ohio-based NFL teams typically leads to stress and anxiety–but could relief soon be on the way?

As funny as it may sound, the Ohio Medical Board will actually issue a ruling on whether or not simply being a fan of the Cleveland Browns or Cincinnati Bengals is a qualifying condition for medicinal cannabis. Residents are able to submit petitions for additional qualifying conditions for cannabis use. Most of the 28 petitions received by the Ohio Medical Board were related to serious medical conditions such as pain, opioid dependence, and autism. However, there was one proposed condition that stood out, being a fan of the Browns or Bengals.

The Browns and Bengals have combined for zero playoff wins in the past 25 years and are routinely among the worst teams in the league. Unfortunately, fans are not likely to receive an off the field win anytime soon either. Even when it comes to serious conditions, Ohio regulators have been hesitant to add any new qualifying conditions for medicinal cannabis. Last year, approximately 100 petitions were submitted, with none of them being approved by the board.

According to the medical board’s website, successful petitions must include “relevant medical or scientific evidence” and “information from experts who specialize in the study of the disease or condition.” While disgruntled fans may think it’s a compelling case, we anticipate the board will cry foul.

“The Medical Board received 28 petitions for potential new qualifying conditions during the 2019 petition window. Medical Board’s Medical Marijuana Committee is anticipated to meet February 12,” the board said on its website. “At that meeting, the committee will decide which petitions will be considered. A final vote on new qualifying conditions is expected this summer.”

The NFL has come under intense scrutiny for its substance use policy. Although THC and CBD have become popular for pain relief among current and former athletes, the NFL still has a zero-tolerance cannabis policy. Although it is unlikely that Ohio regulators would approve fandom as a qualifying condition this season, it’s still possible that NFL fans will be allowed to medicate for stress related to watching football before players can medicate for pain related to playing football.

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The next petition period will be Nov. 1 – Dec. 31, 2020.