CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Medical marijuana legalization in Ohio could be a step closer to becoming reality.
Some very different proposals are moving forward right now. Cleveland 19 News is taking a look at the differences between the two.
A bill with bipartisan support could be moving to the Ohio House for a vote next week. At the same time, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana is collecting signatures to get an amendment to voters this fall.
A revised version of the House Bill 523 was just unveiled. If the state bill legalizing medical marijuana eventually passes, you won't see any patients smoking pot.
The bill states medical marijuana can only be used in vapor form, as an edible, patch or oil. It also puts limits on THC, the chemical in marijuana that produces a "high."
Medical marijuana would be regulated by a commission in charge of licensing cultivators and dispensaries, registering physicians and disciplinary actions.
About 20 medical conditions qualify under the bill, including cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, Crohn's disease and AIDS.
"There's no reason to have such a limited list of conditions. All you're doing is having conditions who could desperately benefit from this medicine be on the outside looking in and continue to suffer their conditions without relief," said John Pardee, campaign coordinator with Ohioans for Medical Marijuana.
Pardee says conditions like Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease and some cases of autism should be included. He says the bill restricts patient access and doctors have to deal with too much red tape.
Ohioans for Medical Marijuana are working on a ballot amendment to legalize it on their own terms.
Pardee says medical marijuana is a safer alternative to opioid-based medicines that can lead to heroin addiction.
"We've had families of kids who have epilepsy, veterans, people in wheelchairs collecting signatures. They need help, everyone needs to make this happen for Ohio to move into the 21st Century," Pardee said.
Ohioans for Medical Marijuana need 305,000 valid signatures by July to get on the November ballot.
Meanwhile, there is another proposed ballot measure being sponsored by Grassroots Ohio.
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