OH lawmakers approve medical marijuana bill

Bill to legalize medical marijuana on OH governor's desk

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Ohio is on Governor John Kasich's desk. The Ohio House approved Senate changes to the bill late Wednesday night.

The governor has flip-flopped on the issue of medical marijuana. He went from being totally opposed to it, to saying he'd look into it.

"The governor will be receiving a number of bills over the next couple of weeks and we will be closely reviewing each of them," in a statement from the governor's office.

He has not said whether he will sign this measure.

If he does sign it, it would not allow people to smoke marijuana or grow it at home. Use will be restricted to an oil, edible, patch or vapor form.  Patients will be required to have a doctor's prescription. And they have to be suffering from a qualifying medical condition. There are about 20 of them including cancer, AIDs, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's or epilepsy.

How Would It Work?

According to the 126-page bill, patients would have to get doctor approval. The doctor would then send in an application to the state. If approved,  the patient and/or caregiver would get an identification card.

The marijuana would be purchased at a dispensary, licensed by the state.  A pharmacist is required to be on staff there and they cannot give out more than a 90 day supply.  Cities can decide whether they want a dispensary in their community. The dispensary cannot be located within 500 feet of a school, library, church, or park.

The growers, suppliers and labs testing the marijuana would also be licensed by the state.

A new commission would be created to help establish rules and regulations.

Employers would be able to opt out of the program as well, in favor of a drug-free workforce.  That would allow them to fire an employee for using medical marijuana.

In the past Governor Kasich has said legalization was a 'terrible idea'. He was against it in Ohio when it was on the ballot in November, but that measure also included the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.  The governor has ten days to decide on this measure.

Lawmakers pushed this bill through quickly in hopes of stopping another medical marijuana issue on the fall ballot, one that would potentially have fewer restrictions like allowing people to smoke marijuana or grow it at home.

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