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April 13, 2016

Restrictive medical marijuana reforms proposed by Ohio legislature in shadow of broader initiative effort

As a bellwether state with a long history of picking White House winners, I often feel very lucky to be in Ohio in big election years to observe how local, state and national politics surrounding various criminal justice issues play out in the Buckeye State.  But this year, given my particular interest in marijuana reform, law and policy and the coming (brokered?) GOP convention in Cleveland, my Buckeye political and policy cup is already running over.  

I bring all this up today because, as detailed in this new local article, "Ohio state lawmakers release plan to legalize medical marijuana," local GOP legislative leaders in Ohio are now actively peddling an important (but restrictive) medical marijuana reform proposal at the same time the national Marijuana Policy Project is gathering signatures and building a campaign for (much broader) medical marijuana reform in the form of a November 2016 voter initiative to amend the Ohio Constitution.  Here are the basics and latest in these dynamic ongoing Buckeye marijuana reform developments:

Ohio state lawmakers released plans today to legalize marijuana for medical use. The bill being considered would allow doctors to write notes for marijuana for medical use. It would still allow for drugfree workplaces.

People who use medical marijuana, could still be fired from their job, according to the bill.  The bill will not allow for home growing of marijuana.

Doctors would be required to periodically report to the state why they are prescribing marijuana instead of other drugs. Anyone taking medical marijuana under the age of 18 would require parental consent.

Ohio lawmakers are also asking the federal government to change marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 2 drug.  Hearing will start soon on the legislation and there could be as many as two hearings a week. No word yet on where Gov. John Kasich stands on the legislation.

The move comes as groups start collecting signatures to put an issue on the ballot before voters in November.... [and] polls show that legalizing marijuana just for medical use is popular across the state....

Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, which is backed by a national group, expects to spend $900,000 collecting 306,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Cross-posted at Marijuana Law, Policy and Reform (where in coming days I will do some anaylsis of the Ohio bill and reactions thereto).

April 13, 2016 at 01:26 PM | Permalink


If home growing is prohibited, is there a means of producing marijuana set forth in the law?

Posted by: ohwilleke | Apr 13, 2016 8:09:10 PM

Any real medical marijuana legislation has to address two issues omitted in most medical marijuana laws: 1) how to assure that prescription is medically appropriate (as opposed to quacks willingly writing scripts for any "patient" who wants marijuana); 2) quality standards for producers and sellers of medical marijuana (i.e. a method for assuring that the doctor can prescribe a certain THC level per dose and that the patient gets that THC level per dose). If the legislation is unable to solve these two issues, it is not about the medical use of marijuana but about a covert way to legalize marijuana using "medical" as a fig-leaf to mislead the voters.

Posted by: TMM | Apr 14, 2016 4:02:19 PM

The thing I find funny about the second issue is that there is in fact a legal THC product in the pharmacological supply chain, goes under the name Marinol. It has been FDA approved since the 1980s.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Apr 15, 2016 1:25:18 AM

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