Ohio Senate ends legislative session on a ‘high note’ before Christmas break
Ohio’s state senate ended on a “high note” after approving a measure that will expand the state's medical marijuana program to patients suffering from medical conditions that were initially rejected from the program in the past. The bill, which was the last bill voted on before their Christmas break, passed the state senate by an overwhelming majority, receiving support from both Democrats and Republicans.
Medical conditions such as arthritis, autism, opioid use disorder, and an array of other conditions that were rejected by state regulators in the past will now be considered qualifying conditions under the state’s expanded medical cannabis program. The Ohio State Medical Board twice rejected including autism on the list of qualifying conditions. Migraines and chronic muscle spasms will also be added to the list.
The bill will now go to the House for consideration. Proposals for recreational marijuana in Ohio’s House have been dead on arrival, but it’s expected that they will approve legislation that expands the list of qualifying conditions for the state’s program. Despite expectations. Speaker of the House Bob Cupp suggested that the Senate’s bill will be met with significant opposition.
There are currently Republican-sponsored bills, bills proposed by Democrats, and a possible ballot initiative that may be up for a vote next year. Similarly to recreational marijuana, smoking medical cannabis and home growing remains outlawed. Republicans in the state were responsible for voting “no” on each of the aforementioned issues.
While Ohio’s Senate is happy to be ending on a high note, there is still much work that needs to be done in Ohio. They currently have one of the strictest medical marijuana programs in the country and an all-out ban on recreational use and sales. Marijuana’s use in Ohio has been decriminalized since 1975, but not much progress has been made since. Cities in the state have enacted their own rules and ordinances, but it’s time for Ohio to legalize.