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Updates on Ohio's medical marijuana bill

Source:  Health Policy Institute of Ohio

The Ohio Senate yesterday passed a medical marijuana bill by just three votes, sending the legislation to Gov. Kasich for final approval (Source: “Medical marijuana plan heads to Gov. Kasich,” Newark Advocate, May 26, 2016).

If Kasich signs the legislation, Ohio would become the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana.

While legalizing medical marijuana, the bill prohibits smoking and growing marijuana at home. Kasich hasn't said whether he'll support this plan, but has expressed interest in passing some sort of bill related to medical marijuana, especially targeting children suffering from epilepsy.

"All I can do is my best to keep drugs out of the Ohio Constitution," said Sen. Dave Burke, R-Marysville, referring to a proposed Ohio constitutional amendment that may be put before voters in November. He and Sen. Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights, held town hall meetings across the state to listen to residents' concerns about medical marijuana.

"This bill is not perfect, folks, but it’s what Ohio patients need," Yuko told colleagues Wednesday evening. “If we can give just one veteran comfort, if we can ease just one cancer patient’s pain, if we can save one child’s life, this bill will be worth it.”


Source: Drug Free Action Alliance

The Ohio Legislature passed House Bill 523, which legalizes marijuana as a medicine in the State. Although the General Assembly attempted to create a highly regulated system for marijuana in the State, this hastily-created bill has major flaws that have been problems in other states.  

First, edibles and other high-potency products will be permitted in Ohio. Other states with medical marijuana programs have had major issues with these products that have caused illnesses and emergency room visits to both children and adults alike.

Secondly, chronic pain, the most widely abused excuse to get “medical” marijuana was accepted into the bill. Approximately 85-90% of all medical marijuana cards where this information is measured get it for chronic pain, with those between the ages of 18-40 using the excuse the most to obtain a card.  

Finally, the ability of parents to keep their children drug free has also been compromised. Availability and access to this drug will be easier for young people to obtain, jeopardizing the potential and promise of many. Drug Free Action Alliance will be working with other groups around the state to help educate communities on what parents need to watch for and communities should expect and will have those in future e-news issues.

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