To all the red-eyed Buckeyes out there! This Ohio weed legalization post is for you, dude. Is weed legal in Ohio? No way, man! Is medical marijuana legal in Ohio? It seems so. Ohio marijuana legalization sure comes with a lot of red tape, which is stuff stoners don’t like. So if let’s dive into the law just in case you find yourself high in Ohio or need some information before making any important Ohio marijuana vote in the future.
Ohio marijuana legalization history
Ohio became the 26th state to legalize medical marijuana when Republican governor, John Kasich, signed House Bill 523 June 8, 2016 amid skepticism from state representatives. State representative Tim Brown (R, Bowling Green) was critical of the marijuana law, at first, but ultimately supported the bill. The new law will take effect September 6th, 2016.
“I had images in my head of California, where their system is not really about medicinal dispensing but is quasi-blanket legalization where someone can grab their back, walk into a strip mall doctor’s office, walk out with a prescription, go next door, and leave with a bag of marijuana,” Brown said. “I don’t believe Ohioans want or are ready for that.”
Marijuana Policy Project Ohio has dropped its petitioning campaign to include a rival marijuana bill on the November ballot, calling HB 523 “a workable law.” The new legislation reportedly is a direct result of persistent activism, pressure put on lawmakers by groups like MPP, NORML and Ohioans for Medical Marijuana. Cool.
Under the Ohio marijuana law, the following products will be dispensed to patients: oils, tinctures, plant material, edibles and epidermal patches. The THC content in herbal material cannot exceed 35% while in extracts THC content can reach 75%.
Is marijuana legal in Ohio?
Is marijuana legal in Ohio? Well, HB 523 essentially allows “seriously ill patients” to purchase medical cannabis products that will be cultivated and produced in state. However, it’ll be a while before doctors can recommend real Ohio marijuana to patients. Dispensaries are not expected to be operational in the state before early 2018, so the law provides limited protections for “qualifying patients” who acquire medical cannabis from out-of-state sources.
What are the qualifying conditions to receive a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana in Ohio? Qualifying conditions include: cancer, glaucoma, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Alzheimer’s disease, hepatitis C, HIV positive status or AIDS, epilepsy (and any other seizure disorder), sickle cell anemia, Tourette’s syndrome, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, spinal cord disease or injury, fibromyalgia and pain that is either intractable or chronic/severe.
When it comes to Ohio legalization it’s obvious to all that police officers are wasting time and money enforcing marijuana “crimes,” so the penalties for possession of non-medical marijuana have been amended. Possession of 100 grams of weed or less, giving 20 grams or less another person, and growing 100 grams or less are now considered minor misdemeanors, punishable by a $150 fine.
Indeed, a workable law, but with room for improvement. Smoking herbal cannabis is not permitted under the new legislation – while vaporizing that same herbal material in a vape pen is permitted – and home cultivation is prohibited, too. Why? Who knows? The legislation doesn’t actually specify how this prohibition will be enforced. Also, employers aren’t required to accommodate cannabis patients per the new law, which means they can fire employees who are cannabis patients because they violate the company policy on drug use. Ohioans who are fired under this pretense won’t be eligible for unemployment compensation, either.
Consider this: Anyone who uses marijuana in Ohio is, in theory, violating federal law. Right now the Ohio Supreme Court is deliberating on how to reconcile the ethical conflict arising between the legality of state-sanctioned medical marijuana and the drug’s federal rating as a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance, a classification the herb shares with narcotic drugs and LSD. A team of attorneys and lawmakers will construct the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct to clarify the services attorneys can offer clients seeking to comply with the Ohio medical marijuana bill.
An obvious benefit to this “workable” albeit tightly regulated law is that small growers won’t be put out of business yet, as has happened to a degree across the recreational marijuana states.
Ohio weed sales banned
Amid resistance by other communities to accept the new law – some communities have preemptively banned medical marijuana sales altogether – Johnstown, a Columbus suburb with a population of less than five thousand, just might spearhead the movement toward medical marijuana in Ohio. The Johnstown Village Council said they won’t impede local cultivators and businesses if they abide by state rules and local zoning laws.
There’s a reason for their enthusiasm. Johnstown is the home base for Apeks Supercritical, manufacturer of botanical oil extraction machines that are popular among growers in weed-friendly states like California and Colorado. Both Apeks owner Andy Joseph and the Johnstown community stand to make a lot of money due to restrictions in the new law forbidding the smoking and home cultivation of marijuana in Ohio.
“If it wasn’t for that specific component, that we had a specific tie — I don’t think we’d be in this situation where we would be passing anything,” Mayor Sean Staneart said. about the the future of an Ohio medical license program.
Medical marijuana Ohio’s white elephant
There so happens to be a ‘white elephant’ shopping mall in the town that’s occupied by only 3 businesses. Joseph and the Johnstown community officials hope to transform the local eyesore into a hub for medical marijuana cultivation and sales, as it is perfectly placed far enough away from any schools, public parks and libraries, or churches to agree with zoning laws. That means the medical marijuana industry for the greater Columbus area will be contained in one convenient, secure area. A veritable no-brainer is definitely stuff both stoners and community leaders like!
POST BY: Ben Ries
Thoughts about the future of marijuana legalization in Ohio or questions about Ohio marijuana law? Use the comments below to get in touch.
Thoughts about the future of Ohio pot legalization or questions about Ohio weed laws? Use the comments below to get in touch.
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