Ohio is on pace to become the next state to legalize medical marijuana, which is good news for people who have been denied access to herbal medicine that can help improve their quality of life.
With Ohio Bill 67-28 having been passed by the Ohio Senate and approved by the assembly, it now awaits the signature of Governor John Kasich. Based on previous statements made by the Governor, it seems likely that the bill will be signed into law.
While this should be a triumph, the details of the law are raising criticisms among marijuana advocacy groups, which are calling it much too restrictive.
Here are some of the features of the legislation:
- While it would be legal to purchase marijuana with a prescription from a doctor, the Ohio bill does not allow for those with medical licenses to grow small amounts of marijuana at home.
- The law will make wax weed or cannabis concentrates legal as well as tinctures, edible marijuana products and patches that transmit marijuana through the skin.
- Herbal marijuana will be able to be sold at dispensaries; however, smoking marijuana will remain illegal. People who want to use dry herbs will have to purchase a vaporizer for weed to comply with the law. A vaporizer can also be used to vape concentrates.
- Whether it will be used in a weed vape, orally, or transdermally, concentrates of marijuana sold in Ohio will only be allowed to contain 75 percent THC. Dry herbs designed for use in vaporizers for weed will only be allowed to contain 35 percent THC.
- The law will make it possible for people to possess enough marijuana to ingest or use in a vaporizer weed pen, portable, or desktop for 90 days. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy will be responsible for deciding how much is a 90-day supply.
The Good News
Not everything in the Ohio medical bill is being criticized. There are some good features, including:
- Quick Access to Weed. Although it will take some time for marijuana dispensaries to be up and running in Ohio, the Ohio legislation does provide immediate access to cannabis. Individuals who receive prescriptions from their doctors will be allowed to purchase dry herbs for vaporizers or concentrates from licensed dispensaries in other states until Ohio's dispensaries open their doors.
- Low Income Program. Unlike other states, Ohio has proactively taken steps to help make medicinal marijuana more affordable for people. The state will have programs available to help cover or lower the cost for veterans who need medical cannabis and for low-income individuals.
- Many Diseases Covered. Other states like New York have only legalized marijuana for treating a handful of diseases. In Ohio, doctors will have the freedom to prescribe cannabis for chronic pain from any cause and for more than 15 medical conditions.
While Ohioans wait for Governor Kasich to decide whether or not to sign the bill, some advocacy groups are already petitioning to have a ballot measure added to the November election on the subject of medical marijuana. Their aim would be to allow voters to decide whether or not amendments should be made to the law to make it more flexible. Those interested in joining the movement can visit the Ohioans for Medical Marijuana official website.