Ohio becomes the 25th medical marijuana state!
Last update: June 9, 2016
Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 523 into law on June 8, 2016, making Ohio the 25th state to adopt a workable medical marijuana law. The legislation, passed by the Ohio General Assembly the previous week, will allow seriously ill patients to use and purchase medical cannabis that will be cultivated and processed in-state. This legislation was a direct response to an initiative MPP funded and sought to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. Unfortunately, the law isn’t perfect — among other things, it does not allow either smoking or home cultivation. However, the bill as passed ensures seriously ill patients will no longer be treated like criminals and will have reasonable access to medicine. HB 523 was greatly improved upon during the legislature’s consideration this year, and it includes chronic and severe pain as a qualifying condition.
Because the state adopted a workable law, MPP suspended its signature collection campaign. We are pleased that ill patients in Ohio will have access to this important treatment option upon their doctors’ recommendations and hope the process to implement rules and create a workable system will move forward quickly. In conjunction with Ohioans for Medical Marijuana, we plan to continue advocacy efforts to ensure that the State of Ohio lives up to the promises contained in HB 523, while also working to better the program using the ballot initiative proposal as a roadmap for these improvements.
Marijuana laws in Ohio
Possession of less than 100 grams (or about 3.5 ounces), giving 20 grams or less of marijuana to another person, or growing less than 100 grams of marijuana are each considered “minor misdemeanors,” punishable by a maximum fine of $150. A minor misdemeanor is not a “jailable” offense, but a person’s driver’s license can be suspended for a period ranging from six months to five years.
While Ohio’s marijuana penalties are less draconian than its neighbors, law enforcement officers are still wasting valuable time and resources. In 2012, Ohio officers arrested or cited 14,374 people for marijuana-related offenses, 94% of which were for possession only. At the same time, 91.6% of all reported burglaries — including home invasions — and 90% of all motor vehicle thefts went unsolved. Let your legislators know it’s time law enforcement stopped wasting time punishing adults for choosing a safer alternative to alcohol.
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