ohio senate

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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 Would Face New Hurdles Under Senate Medical Marijuana Bill

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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.

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.

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