Medical Marijuana Now Legal for Patients in Ohio

Ohio the 25th State to Legalize Medical Marijuana! On June 8th, Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 523 and legalized the use of medical marijuana. Ohioans have to wait 90 days before the bill goes into effect, but it will take even longer before growers, dispensaries, and patients have a set of their own rules.

The will allow out-of-state legal medical marijuana into Ohio until late 2017 to early 2018 when Ohio predicts to have a supply of its own medical marijuana. Ohio is limiting the growth of marijuana to commercial growers who have been licensed by the Ohio Department of Commerce, and the growth of marijuana for personal use remains illegal. The Board of Pharmacy will be the regulatory authority in Ohio and will establish an advisory committee to determine the form and THC content of permitted medical marijuana for Ohioans.

Starting September 6, 2016, Ohioans with a doctors recommendation will be allowed to legally bring medical marijuana across state lines into Ohio. Physicians are permitted to recommend medical marijuana for individuals with the following medical conditions: AIDS, ALS, Alzheimers, cancer, CTE, Crohn’s, seizure disorders, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, IBS, sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourettes syndrome, traumatic brain injury, ulcerative colitis, Parkinsons disease, PTSD, and pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable.

Unfortunately, recreational marijuana is still illegal under Bill 523, and it is still illegal to smoke marijuana. However, vaporizers, edibles and oils are allowed. Additionally, Bill 523 does not protect individuals using medical marijuana from being fired if their employer prohibits the use of marijuana. Despite a doctors recommendation for medical marijuana employees who have been fired will not receive unemployment compensation.

At first glance, Bill 523 appears to violate the Cole Memorandums priority to prevent marijuana from crossing across state lines. Goods for sale that are crossing state lines are exclusively regulated by the federal government under the Commerce Clause in the US Constitution. This will be something Ohio will need to work out with federal prosecutors to avoid DEA interference come September 6, 2016.