Governor John Kasich Signs Medical Marijuana Bill


Governor John Kasich yesterday signed the medical marijuana bill that state legislators had passed last month. Ninety days after the bill officially gets filed with the secretary of state, the bill goes into effect. That puts us right around September.

Ohio becomes the 25th state to pass some sort of medical marijuana legislation, and it's among the strictest. And while, come September, those with valid prescriptions from doctors will avoid legal trouble if they're using a form of the drug allowed under state law (oils, edibles, etc.), it'll be a year before dispensaries are up and operational.

That's right, if you didn't know already, the bill prohibits smoking pot as a delivery device (and also growing it at home).

The list of afflictions that would qualify a patient:

HIV/AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Alzheimer's disease, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Crohn's disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, Parkinson's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette's syndrome, traumatic brain injury and ulcerative colitis.


(Updated 5/25/16) The Ohio Senate approved a medical marijuana legalization bill with an 18-15 vote this evening. The measure now returns to the House, which must approve the changes that were made to a previous version of the bill. 

This legislation, however, has its critics. Ohioans for Medical Marijuana will continue to gather signatures in support of a ballot measure to be put to voters during the Nov. 8 election. (The ballot measure is, generally speaking, less restrictive. Where the state bill prohibits smoking medical marijuana, the ballot measure allows it, for instance.)

(Ohioans for Medical Marijuana ended up announcing they'd suspend their ballot campaign in the wake of the legislator's bill.)

Originally published at 11:50 a.m.

With summer recess right around the corner, state legislators are careening toward a deadline of sorts in passing their medical marijuana bill. A vote is expected on the Senate floor this afternoon. A committee approved the bill's language with a 7-5 vote this morning. Now, 17 affirmative votes are needed from the full Senate to move this thing along.

If the Senate passes the bill, which remains uncertain as of this morning, the House will need to approve various changes that had been made to the language. Gov. John Kasich has not specifically addressed whether he'll sign this bill into law. “I have to look at it,” he told the Columbus Dispatch.

As far as the word "deadline" goes, state legislators are about to go on "recess" and won't return to session until after the November election. By all accounts, a group called Ohioans for Medical Marijuana is on its way to gathering 305,591 valid signatures of registered voters by July 6, which will place its constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana on the Nov. 8 ballot. 

That amendment would allow patients to smoke and grow their own marijuana for medical use. The state's bill does not allow that, opting instead to permit patients to "vape" marijuana prescribed by a physician. (That's one of the new changes that the House would have to subsequently approve; an older version of the bill allowed smoking.)

Ohioans for Medical Marijuana will continue its campaign even if the bill is signed into law.

We'll be keeping an eye on the statehouse proceedings from up here in Cleveland.

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