Ohio is one step closer to becoming the 26th state to legalize medical marijuana. The bill passed on Tuesday with a 70 to 25 vote at the Ohio House allowing doctors to prescribe the use of the drug.
Lawmakers at the Ohio House have designed a program for using medical marijuana in the state. The bill and the program will now need to move on to the senate to be approved.
Ohio House rep. held a meeting that included testimonies of medical marijuana users and how the plant has helped them cope with their diseases and pain.
House Bill 523 is currently headed for the senate waiting on its approval. Ohioans will have to wait to be completely capable of being prescribed medical marijuana.
According to the bill, patients capable of receiving a medical marijuana prescription will be those who suffer from at least one of the 20 diseases or situations described by the bill made at the Ohio House.
The plan created by the Ohio House bans patients from smoking the prescribed drug, yet vaping will be allowed. Home-growing the plant is also banned from the bill, instead, the Ohio House will create distribution and selling points.
A nine-member committee will be created by the Ohio House to write rules and regulations for the prescribed plant, the commission will be created within two years of becoming a law.
Local stores and commerces will be able to ban or block the consumption of the medicine in their business if wanted.
Physicians who want to prescribe the drug will be in the need of scheduling regular reports with their patients to understand how is being used, how often and how does it work on patients.
In the bill program, it’s clarified that caregivers or parents who are patients consuming the medicine will not be arrested nor will they lose their children from possessing and using medical marijuana.
The House hopes the legislature will call the federal government and the FDA to move marijuana to a Schedule 2 drug so more research on the plant can be made.
Representative Dan Ramos has said that marijuana helps both children and adults that suffer from severe conditions such as seizures and chronic pain.
“This has been one of the finest pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen crafted. This is one of those situations where no one loves 100 percent of it, which means most of us can like the vast majority of it,” said Ramos in a statement to the press.
Criticism of the bill
Despite the bill passed with no problems at the Ohio House, some restrictions of the plan created for the bill has alarmed some representatives and medical marijuana supporters.
In the designed plan employers will be in the title of firing any employee that is a medical marijuana user and deny their unemployment benefits.
Also, companies and employers will still require testing for drug use before hiring someone and if the person is a patient of medical marijuana, it could be ban from getting a job.
Representative David Leland assured his willingness of medical marijuana use and even though he voted yes to the law, he is not on board with the decision that lets employers fire people for being patients of the plant.
“Not only can you be fired because you are a medical marijuana user. We’re going to deny you your unemployment benefits, for something that we just declared legal. We are punishing the people that are going to be using the very substance we’re making legal. It’s like we have Schizophrenia here” Said Leland in a statement to the press.
Rep. Teresa Fedor D-Toledo also stated her disapproval of that measurement “It’s discriminatory, as a matter of fact is a cruel joke” Said the representative.
Medical Marijuana supporters are criticizing the conditions played by the Ohio House plan since it bans people from growing and smoking their own medical marijuana.
Senators will now work on the process of making the bill a law and approve the measures.