COLUMBUS, OH (WOIO) - A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in Ohio has officially been signed into law.
Governor John Kasich signed the bill, which authorizes the use of marijuana for medical purposes and establishes the Medical Marijuana Control Program, Wednesday afternoon.
The Ohio House approved Senate changes to the bill May 26, sending it to Gov. Kasich's desk.
According to the 126-page bill, patients will have to get doctor approval. The doctor will then send in an application to the state. If approved, the patient and/or caregiver will get an identification card.
The marijuana will 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 will also be licensed by the state.
A new commission will be created to help establish rules and regulations.
Employers will be able to opt out of the program as well, in favor of a drug-free workforce. That will 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 had 10 days to decide on this measure, and it appears as though his stance has changed.
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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