ohio legislature

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Ohio: Medical Marijuana Signature Drive Suspended

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Ohioans for Medical Marijuana on Friday evening, "after considerable discussion," suspended a drive to place an issue on the November 2016 Ohio ballot.

"We make this decision with a heavy heart as we will surely disappoint our many volunteers, supporters and patient-advocates who invested considerable time and effort in our movement," said Brandon Lynaugh, campaign manager for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. "It had become increasingly clear following the state legislature’s passage of a medical marijuana law on Wednesday that our ballot issue campaign had arrived at a critical juncture.

"With several hundred thousand signatures collected thus far, one option for our movement would have been to continue to pour our resources into obtaining the additional signatures needed to put the issue before voters," Lynaugh said. "But the reality is that raising funds for medical marijuana policy changes is incredibly difficult, especially given the improvements made to the proposed program by the Ohio General Assembly and the fact that the Governor is expected to sign the bill.

Ohio: Legislature's Embrace of Medical Marijuana Bolsters Amendment Prospects

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With the approval of H.B. 523 by the Ohio Senate and expected concurrence by the Ohio House of Representatives, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana on Thursday announced it will move toward the November ballot with the issue of patient’s rights to medical marijuana supported by the Ohio General Assembly.

"This General Assembly has taken a step forward on this issue,” said Aaron Marshall, spokesman for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. “Their support for medical marijuana speaks volumes for eliminating any remaining biases against allowing doctors to recommend this life-enhancing treatment to patients in need.”

"Our Constitutional amendment builds on the legislature’s work by incorporating national best practices and offers voters an opportunity to enact a law free of the horse-trading inherent in the legislative process," Marshall said. "Our amendment also protects the rights of patients in the Ohio Constitution, not leaving this important issue vulnerable to the reach of special interests."

While the legislative bill clears several important societal and policy-making hurdles, it omits a number of critical issues. They include:

Ohio: Patients Still Lose Under Latest Medical Marijuana Plan From Legislature

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As state lawmakers unveiled a revised version of HB 523, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana on Wednesday released a statement expressing disappointment with the narrow and restrictive substitute bill.

“The latest version fails to address the critical flaws in the bill that significantly restrict patient access,” said Aaron Marshall, spokesman for Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. “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. With so few doctors participating, patients will not have access to the medicine they need.”

Provisions in the revised legislation require doctors to recommend specific THC levels and strains of medical marijuana for patients. “These kinds of provisions risk putting doctors at odds with federal law, and have significantly hindered the two-year-old medical marijuana program in New York,” said Marshall.

Ohio: Medical Marijuana Bill To Be Introduced In State Senate

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Ohio Legislature could debate a medical marijuana bill as early as next month, but it's still unclear whether Republicans, who control the statehouse, will support the legislation.

Sen. Kenny Yuko said he plans to introduce a bill in the coming weeks based on medicinal cannabis laws in 23 other states and the District of Columbia, reports Jackie Borchardt at Cleveland.com. People with certain medical conditions, including seizure disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could be authorized by their physician to buy and consume cannabis if the bill is approved.

Yuko didn't give additional details about the bill, including who might grow cannabis for the program. He said his bill is a "starting point" and he hopes his Senate colleagues will weigh in so it can be passed before June.

"It's a piece of legislation that most people who are reading it are finding palatable and are supportive of it," Yuko said.

Lawmakers need to pass the bill before they adjourn for their summer break in June, according to Yuko. They likely won't return to work until after the November election, and by then, voters could have already rendered their action moot.

Three constitutional amendments legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes have been proposed this year. Polls show Ohio voters overwhelmingly support medical marijuana.

Ohio: Lawmakers Plan Town Hall Meetings On Medical Marijuana

CliffRosenberg-and-KirkSchuring[JeremyPelzer-cleveland.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two members of the Ohio Legislature will be holding a Thursday press conference to announce details regarding the creation of a bipartisan task force in charge of "addressing the issue" of medical marijuana.

Speaker of the Ohio house Clifford A. Rosenberg (R-Clarksville) and state Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) will hold the press conference, reports Kevin Landers at 10TV.

Following the November defeat of Issue 3, which would have made cannabis legal in Ohio but would have awarded a growing monopoly to those who funded the campaign, lawmakers said they "learned there is growing support" among voters for medical marijuana. What has happened is that these dudes saw public opinion polls last year showing roughly 85 percent of Ohioans support medical marijuana, which makes it politically safe.

The idea behind the town hall meetings is to bring both sides of the issue together, and to include the public in the discussion.

Many patients who use cannabis say it offers better results than pharmaceutical pain pills. A patient named Aaron said he became addicted to opiates after back surgery, then switched to marijuana because it helps reduce his pain without the side effects of the pain pills.

Ohio: Marijuana Legalization Debate Far From Over

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Issue 3, a well-funded proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in Ohio, failed at the polls in November, but the issue isn't going anywhere.

More ballot initiatives are in the works, and state lawmakers have promised action on medical marijuana, reports Jackie Borchardt at Cleveland.com. Activists across the state are working on local ballot measures that would decriminalize pot possession.

Advocates struggled for years, with almost no funding, to put a marijuana initiative on the Ohio ballot. But in 2015, wealthy investors banded together with the name ResponsibleOhio to propose Issue 3, which would have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana. Funders, in exchange for giving $20 million to the campaign, would have owned the only 10 sites commercial cultivation sites allowed in the state.

Ohio voters didn't want that marijuana monopoly; 64 percent of them rejected Issue 3 at the voting booth. But according to experts, Issue 3 shouldn't be seen as an up-or-down vote on marijuana legalization, because it was so crappily written.

It's interesting that would-be "activists" like Russ Belville cluelessly brayed about Issue 3 needing to pass to "send a message" about legalization. The only "message" that passing garbage like Issue 3 would have sent is that "people would vote for anything if you just call it legalization"... a premise which, as we have learned, is quite faulty.

Ohio: 3 Cleveland City Council Members Endorse ResponsibleOhio Legalization Plan

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A trio of Cleveland City Council members, along with civil rights leader George Forbes, on Friday endorsed ResponsibleOhio, sponsors of Issue 3, an amendment to legalize marijuana on the November ballot which would legalize marijuana.

Forbes and council members Ken Johnson, Jeff Johnson and Mamie Mitchell said they want to help reshape the criminal justice system under which racial disparities exist between arrest rates of blacks who use marijuana compared to whites, reports Mark Naymik at the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

"We should take (marijuana) out of the darkness and begin to regulate it," said Jeff Johnson at a news conference organized by ResponsibleOhio. "It will relieve a pathway to prison that too many of our young African Americans have gone to."

The council members said police resources should be used to fight against more powerful drugs, such as heroin and cocaine.

Cleveland activist Basheer Jones and Cleveland Rev. Jeff Jemison also joined the politicians. Jemison said he'd been trying to sell his colleagues on a related issue known as the Fresh Start Act that would allow Ohioans convicted of pot offenses since legalized by ResponsibleOhio's constitutional amendment to have those records expunged or destroyed.

Ohio: Buckeye State Could Become First In Midwest To Legalize Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Ohio could become the fifth state, and the first in the Midwest, to legalize marijuana under a measure that qualified on Wednesday for the state's November 2015 ballot. The measure itself, however, remains controversial, as it basically hands control of the state's legal cannabis industry to a handful of entrepreneurs.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted rules that ResponsibleOhio advocates and hired workers gathered enough valid signatures -- more than 320,000 -- to qualify, reports Jackie Borchardt at the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

The measure will appear as Issue 3 on the statewide ballot for the general election on November 3.

"It's time for marijuana legalization in Ohio, and voters will have the opportunity to make it happen this November -- we couldn't be more excited," said ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James. "Drug dealers don't care about doing what's best for our state and its citizens.

"By reforming marijuana laws in November, we'll provide compassionate care to sick Ohioans, bring money back to our local communities and establish a new industry with limitless economic development opportunities."

If the measure passes, Ohio would become the first state to legalize recreational marijuana without having legalized medicinal cannabis first.

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