Ohio Medical Marijuana Bill Advances, But Activists Are Not Celebrating

Ohio Medical Marijuana Bill Advances, But Activists Are Not Celebrating

Published on 5/6/16

After failing to legalize medical marijuana last year, Ohio advocates are back with a new initiative to combat the poor legislation which could severely limit the program's potential. The House will soon vote on a bill that would legalize a non-smokable medical marijuana program similar to New York's, which forces doctors to report every 90 days the amount of recommended marijuana, THC content, and why. Doctors have been less likely to participate in heavily restricted programs, especially when specific recommendations can attract unwanted federal attention. Ohioans for Medical Marijuana’s initiative allows smokable marijuana to be grown at home, and a larger list of qualifying conditions for patients. This sensible initiative must gather 305,000 signatures by July to be considered on November's ballot. Legislation for the limited program will be voted on early next week.

An amendment requiring physicians recommending marijuana to patients specify the forms and methods of marijuana the patient may use—as well as the amount of THC in the product—is a detail Ohioans for Medical Marijuana say is particularly problematic.

“These kinds of provisions risk putting doctors at odds with federal law, and have significantly hindered the two-year-old medical marijuana program in New York,” Aaron Marshall, spokesman for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, said in a press release.

“Very few doctors will be willing to enter into a system that doesn’t trust them to make decisions that are in the best interest of their patients and ties their hands with regulatory red tape,” Marshall said.

Unlike the legislature’s plan, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana’s initiative would allow home-grow and smoked marijuana at any level of THC, as well as a more comprehensive list of qualifying conditions.

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