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Provision in medical marijuana law may be unconstitutional

Source: Health Policy Institute of Ohio


Portions of Ohio’s medical marijuana law may need to be revisited by the General Assembly because they may not be constitutional (Source: “Ohio lawmakers knew part of pot law is legally questionable,” Lancaster Eagle Gazette, July 24, 2016).

At issue are benchmarks contained in the legislation that was fast-tracked by the legislature to head off a medical marijuana proposal that was on its way to Ohio’s fall ballot. They require at least 15 percent of Ohio’s cultivator, processor, retail dispensary and laboratory licenses to go to the businesses of one of four economically disadvantaged minority groups — blacks, Hispanics, Asians or Native Americans — so long as an adequate number apply.

However, such racial preference rules have been found to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution and have generally failed to stand up in court, the Associated Press reported, citing legal scholars.

Changes may wind up in a marijuana corrective bill that emerges in the General Assembly’s lame duck session.

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