Ohio: Patients Would Face New Hurdles Under Senate Medical Marijuana Bill
The Ohio Senate’s State and Local Government Committee on Wednesday accepted a substitute version of House Bill 523, the narrow and restrictive medical marijuana legislation passed last week out of the Ohio House of Representatives.
“This latest version includes a series of high-cost requirements that will effectively keep many patients from being able to access medical marijuana,” said Aaron Marshall, spokesman for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. “These mandates coupled with the legislature’s insistence that home grow be prohibited -- and the Senate’s elimination of a medical marijuana discount program for veterans and low-income Ohioans -- cements this bill as a deeply-flawed measure helping very few patients.”
Also changed on Wednesday in the Senate’s new version was language specifying that a patient’s pain must be “chronic, severe AND intractable” to qualify under a general pain provision. Intractable is often defined in medical dictionaries as “having no relief” or “resistant to cure, relief or control.”
“In essentially making the pain threshold intractable, lawmakers are cutting off access to thousands of Ohioans who have severe, debilitating, but not intractable, pain,” Marshall said.
While the Senate’s bill added a pair of qualifying conditions, it still does not include autism, Huntington’s Disease, muscular dystrophy, muscle spasms, wasting syndrome and severe nausea, which are all qualifying conditions under the statewide ballot issue being proposed by Ohioans for Medical Marijuana.
Lastly, the Senate’s version of the bill shifts decision-making from a state marijuana control commission to a pair of state boards. “This latest version merely changes which unelected committee of political appointees will be given the power to determine the future of Ohio’s medical marijuana system,” Marshall said. “The bottom line is more government red tape.”