House Bill 523, which legalizes marijuana prescription, sale, and use, for medical purposes was signed into law today by Ohio Governor John Kasich. After succeeding in the House 67-29, the bill recently squeezed by in the state Senate, the majority winning by a close 18-15 vote, sending it to Governor Kasich’s desk for approval. His signature made Ohio the 25th state to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes.
The bill covers 21 conditions in which a patient may be prescribed with medical cannabis, including: HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Cancer, Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, Epilepsy or other seizure disorders, Fibromyalgia, Glaucoma, Hepatitis C, Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Multiple sclerosis, Severe/Chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Sickle cell anemia, Spinal cord diseases and injuries, Traumatic brain injuries, and Ulcerative colitis.
The bill was initially sponsored in the House by Rep. Stephen Huffman (R., Tipp City) whom also is qualified as a physician. Now that the bill has been passed, it will go into effect within thirty days. In addition to the effect date, the state also created several deadlines within the language of the bill. Within two years the bill requires that there must be licensed growing facilities, testing labs, physician certification, patient registries, processors, as well as retail facilities up and running, so long as they are either state-run or licensed by the state.
Until the time that Ohio has created systems in which its citizens can buy medical marijuana within state boundaries, medical marijuana patients are allowed to travel to states where medical marijuana is legal and transport it back to Ohio. In addition, Ohio citizens arrested for possession within the state can claim “affirmative defense” when faced with prosecution to avoid prosecution until the individual can obtain an official medical marijuana registration card from the state. Although this is all legal in Ohio, federal law still frowns upon cannabis.
It’s interesting that the former Republican candidate was willing to support cannabis, even just for medicinal purposes. Where is your state/country at in the movement for legalization? Let us know in the comments!