Legislation Legalizing MMJ Clears Ohio House

function share_this(num) {
 tit=encodeURIComponent('Legislation Legalizing MMJ Clears Ohio House');
 site = new Array(5);
 return false;

  Legislation Legalizing MMJ Clears Ohio House

Posted by CN Staff on May 10, 2016 at 16:06:02 PT
By Jim Siegel, The Columbus Dispatch 
Source: Columbus Dispatch 

Ohio -- With a proposed constitutional amendment on the horizon, the House voted 70-25 today to give Ohioans access to medical marijuana, moving Ohio a step closer to being the 26th state to legalize the drug. Rep. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, an emergency room doctor and sponsor of the bill, noted that in the hours of testimony, members heard about children prescribed marijuana who went from 300 seizures a day to five, and how it helped a veteran with his post-traumatic stress disorder.
Huffman recited a few lines of the doctor’s Hippocratic Oath. “This is what this bill is all about, which is the patients,” he said. “I am absolutely convinced there is therapeutic value in medical marijuana.” The bill would allow for vaping, but not smoking, and includes 20 medical conditions that qualify for medical marijuana, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, seizure disorders and intractable pain. It would prohibit home-grown marijuana, require doctors to report to the state on how often and why the drug is being prescribed, and set up a new nine-member commission to enact regulations, including locations of dispensaries and farms.The bill also requires an ongoing patient-doctor relationship for the drug to be prescribed. House Bill 523 now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Dave Burke, R-Marysville, expects hearings to begin soon with likely passage before lawmakers break for summer and fall in June. “I don’t think there’s anything that’s dynamically different in what is the House version versus what would be a Senate version,” said Burke, who has been working on the issue for months. “ I don’t see anything that screams as a large point of difference. We’re looking at nuances and details.” Burke stressed that he has kept in contact with House leaders as the two chambers each conducted informal hearings on medical marijuana in the winter, and after the House kicked off formal hearings in mid-April. Burke has said he favors having the state Pharmacy Board and the State Medical Board handle rules and regulations of medical marijuana, instead of the House-passed control commission. “We’re talking about who does something, not the act of actually doing it,” Burke said. “I wouldn’t define the difference as great. We agree there are going to be rules. The process is about how.” Huffman said that, based on his conversations with Burke, he expects to see minor changes in the Senate but there is largely agreement. Asked if he thought the bill would take the steam out of a proposed medical marijuana constitutional amendment in November, Huffman said he expects Ohioans will find the bill compares favorably. “They’ll find this is a good balance…for true medical marijuana,” Huffman said. Rep. Kirk Schuring, R-Canton, the House point-person on the issue, said it’s important that lawmakers craft the law after listening to a variety of interests, rather than outside groups trying to put language into the Constitution. “We are talking about a well-regulated system,” he said, adding that he was moved by the testimony he heard from those suffering who have found relief from the drug. Burke, a pharmacist, admits he isn’t a fan of legalized medical marijuana. But a Republican-dominated legislature that wouldn’t touch the issue just a few years ago has come to realize some people that can be helped by the drug, and, if lawmakers don’t act, Ohioans are likely to put a less-restrictive measure into the state Constitution. A handful of lawmakers, mostly Democrats, have pushed for medical marijuana legalization since the 1990s. “You’re not going to be smoking marijuana. You’re not going to be growing marijuana at home,” Burke said of the bill. “Those are recreational activities, not medical activities.” Changes to the bill last week did not stop the criticism from Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, a group backed by the Marijuana Policy Project of Washington, D.C. that is pursuing a Nov. 8 ballot issue. Spokesman Aaron Marshall says the bill would “significantly restrict patient access” “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,” he said. The group also doesn’t like that, under the bill, it would take up to two years before marijuana is available to prescribe. Nichole Scholten, an advocate for the pro-medical marijuana group Ohio Families CANN, testified recently alongside her 12-year-old daughter, Lucy, who is in a wheelchair from cerebral palsy and drug-resistant epilepsy. Scholten urged lawmakers to place a safe haven provision in the bill, so as regulations, farms and dispensaries are developed over the next two years, people can legally possess cannabis oil from out of state immediately. A similar provision was added to a Pennsylvania medical marijuana bill signed into law last month. Scholten also argued that the bill is too restrictive, with reporting requirements that could discourage most doctors from prescribing marijuana. She urged lawmakers to design a program that is “useful and without barriers,” that gets buy-in from patients. "Make them feel untrusted, illegitimate, or under-prioritized and they may not," she said. "They may support a citizen initiative instead." The bill includes legal protections for financial institutions, lawyers and accountants who provide marijuana-related services, and it ensures parents and caregivers cannot be arrested to providing marijuana to patients. Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, said marijuana can help children and adults suffering from a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, live something closer to a normal life. "This is a life-altering piece of legislation for a lot of families in this state." “This has been one of the finest pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen crafted,” Ramos said. “ This is one of those situations where no one loves 100 percent of it, which means most of us can like the vast majority of it.” The Ohio State Medical Association has indicated it cannot support the bill, because marijuana has not undergone proper clinical research and approval by the federal Food and Drug Administration. But the group has said it would rather the legislature deal with the issue as opposed to a constitutional amendment on the ballot. Rep. David Leland, D-Columbus, said he came to the House chamber undecided on the bill. He said he wanted to vote yes — he eventually did — but he didn't like that the bill allows employers to fire someone if they are using medical marijuana, even its been prescribed legally. "Not only can you be fired because you are a medical marijuana user...we're going to deny you your unemployment benefits, for something that we just declared legal," he said. "We're punishing the people that are going to be using the very substance we're making legal. It's like we have Schizophrenia here." Schuring said the goal is to mirror current law, giving employers the ability to fire someone for failing a drug test. The bill asks the FDA to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, putting it on par with other medicines and making research easier to perform. Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)Author: Jim Siegel, The Columbus DispatchPublished: May 10, 2016Copyright: 2016 The Columbus DispatchContact: letters dispatch.comWebsite:  Medical Marijuana Archives 

Home    Comment    Email    Register    Recent Comments    Help    


Comment #3 posted by FoM on May 14, 2016 at 15:23:36 PT

I have no interesting in this at all. It is the typical Republican way to stop change and act like they actually care.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #2 posted by Oleg the Tumor on May 14, 2016 at 10:23:12 PT

Ohio's Top Export - Bar None – Read Carefully!
… Is Medical Investment Management. Its not hard to make tons of money when you are co-opted by black Ops with budgets that are nobody's business.The State of Ohio Seal makes it look like we're just another agricultural state out here in the boondocks. But behind that haystack, some out-of-town honcho (say, a King or a head of intelligence) is having his bacon saved covertly when doing so serves the national security interests. Besides they can't get what they need at home.The point of this diatribe from someone who escaped from the Cleveland Medical gulag fair and square is simply this: The Medical Industry will not be dictated to by anybody because the God of Mammon is at their back. In their view, People who use cannabis are victims of a Ponzi-like snake oil scam that has caused "mass hallucinations of relief" for whatever ails you. You should be admitted to their allied psychiatric facility. Are you insured? Or would you rather confess to being drug dependent and enter our program for that?If you listen to all of the ads on TV, you will end up with a list of medicines to ask your Dr.  "if these are right for you" - so long as one of them is not cannabis!We Need to Re-Legalize the Entire Hemp Industry!The aforementioned measure is crap.Let's go to the ballot box, for it seems we must.
[ Post Comment ]


Comment #1 posted by Greg Rx on May 11, 2016 at 10:46:23 PT:

Useless Ohio law
We in Michigan know that this will NEVER be fully functional. Doctors are under great pressure NOT to recommend MM, under threat of termination or DEA sanction. And this "“This has been one of the finest pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen crafted,” Ramos said. “ This is one of those situations where no one loves 100 percent of it, which means most of us can like the vast majority of it.” is so laughable, you have to wonder about Mr Ramos's intelligence. I predict this will help the ballot proposal. Any takers?
[ Post Comment ]

  Post Comment