Ohio Poised to Become 26th Medical Marijuana State
By Paul Armentano
Lawmakers in the Ohio House and Senate chambers have approved legislation, House Bill 523, to regulate the use of medical cannabis preparations by qualified patients. The measure now awaits action from Gov. John Kasich, who has historically been tepid in his support for marijuana law reform. However, as a Presidential candidate, he pledged not to interfere in states that had legalized and regulated the plant for medical or social use.
The bill authorizes the use of various forms of cannabis preparations for the physician-authorized treatment of nearly two-dozen conditions, including chronic pain, epilepsy, andCrohn’s. It calls on state regulators to license the production, distribution, and testing of cannabis products, but it forbids home cultivation of the plant.
Cannabis-specific products may be dispensed as oils, tinctures, edibles, patches, or as herbal material. Smoking herbal cannabis is not permitted under the measure; however, the measure does not clarify how this prohibition would be enforced. Vaporizing medical cannabis products are permitted. Similar smoking restrictions exist in three other states: Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania.
THC content in herbal cannabis will be limited to 35 percent under the measure, while extracts will be capped at 75 percent THC.
A summary of the bill is available from the Ohio Patient Network here.
Following the transmission of HB 523 to the Governor, proponents seeking to place a separate, broader medical marijuana measure on the 2016 ballot announced that they were suspending their campaign, stating, “[A]llin all, it is a moderately good piece of legislation passed by lawmakers who were pushed hard by the patient community. We plan on continuing forward as an advocacy effort to ensure that the State of Ohio lives up to the promises contained in HB 523, but also working to better the program utilizing our amendment as a roadmap for those improvements.”
According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, nine out of ten Ohio voters believe medical marijuana access ought to be legally regulated.
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