Almost two months after Missouri legalized medical marijuana, Ohio has finally approved the bill allowing health care providers to prescribe marijuana derivatives as a form of treatment for a number of illnesses.
On May 25, House Bill 523, introduced by Stephen Huffman (R., Tipp City), moved after it had a 67-28 vote in the House and an 18-15 in the Senate. It was quietly signed into law by Gov. John Kasich, hours after it reached his office.
A press release stated that the governor signed HB 523 that "authorizes the use of marijuana for medical purposes and establishes the Medical Marijuana Control Program."
Ohio becomes the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana.
The law, effective after 90 days, includes provisions following a seed-to-sale system from cultivation, testing and dispensing.
The law listed 20 medical conditions, which marijuana derivatives may be used as treatment. The list include: seizure disorder, cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, AIDS, chronic pain, Alzheimer's disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson's disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, glaucoma, fibromyalgia, hepatitis C, sickle cell anemia, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord disease, traumatic brain injury and Tourette's syndrome.
Still, growing of marijuana in homes and smoking is illegal. The use of patches, edibles and vaping products are permitted.
Unlike the Missouri marijuana law, the Ohio law did not specify any limit to the number of allowed growers and dispensary lounges. The law, however, gave towns the discretion to limit the number or ban dispensaries.
Dispensaries should not be within the 500 feet radius of churches, schools, public libraries, parks and playgrounds.
The law also gives employers the right to maintain a marijuana-free workplace, but it did not include a clause what employers can do when employees violate workplace prohibitions.
The Department of Commerce, Ohio Medical Board and Ohio Pharmacy Board are in charge of formulating rules, which will require approval from the legislation. The agencies will also act as supervisory offices that will decide on who can grow, test, use and dispense the medical marijuana. In addition, the law also requires a commission that would act as an advisory panel for medical marijuana rules and policies.
Ohioans For Medical Marijuana
An earlier poll showed that as much as 90 percent of Ohioans are in favor of medical marijuana forced the legislators to act immediately.
"This is a joyous day for the thousands of Ohioans who will finally be able to safely access much-needed medicine," said Aaron Marshall, spokesman for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. He added that their fight for medical marijuana is not yet over, as the law still has a lot of room for improvement.
Photo: Brett Levin | Flickr