Ohio Lawmakers File Medical Cannabis Revamp Bill

Two Republican lawmakers in Ohio introduced a bill to amend the state’s medical marijuana law, creating a new state agency to oversee programs and make medical marijuana available to more patients . The measures are Senate Bill 9, was introduced Jan. 11 by state senators Steve Huffman and Kirk Schuhling and was referred to the Legislative Committee for consideration on Tuesday. The bill is similar to Senate Bill 261, another proposal from the last legislative session that failed to gain approval in the Ohio House of Representatives after passing the Senate in December 2021.

Both bills seek to update Ohio’s medical marijuana laws. This law passed the General Assembly and was signed into law in 2016. Under the new bill, a new state agency, the Marijuana Control Board, will be created as part of Ohio. Department of Commerce that regulates state medical marijuana programs. The act also creates her 13-member board responsible for overseeing new institutions and medical programs. Under current law, the state’s medical marijuana program is overseen by the Ohio Department of Commerce, the Ohio Medical Commission, and the Ohio Pharmacy Commission.

“What we have found is that many growers want to expand and grow further.” Huffman said in a statement reported by local media. “There are more producers, more demand. , we hope to become a more functional industry.”

Ohio Bill adds new eligibility conditions

Senate Bill 9 also adds autism spectrum disorders, arthritis, migraines, chronic muscle spasms, and opioid use disorders to the state’s list of medical conditions for which patients are eligible to use cannabis as medicine. The list of conditions includes over 20 serious medical conditions including cancer, chronic pain, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, terminal illness and more.

The measure also allows medical marijuana use by patients with other debilitating medical conditions that can be treated with medical cannabis, at the discretion of the physician. Previous bills had similar provisions, allowing patients to use medical marijuana if doctors determined that “the patient’s symptoms could reasonably be expected to be relieved by medical marijuana.” .

At a committee hearing on Senate Bill 9 on Tuesday, Huffman and Schling told colleagues that many medical marijuana patients in Ohio get cannabis from neighboring states with more liberal marijuana laws. Of the more than 320,000 patients enrolled in the history of Ohio’s medical marijuana program as of Jan. 1, according to information from state regulators, Only about 164,000 had physician recommendations and enrolled patients.

“The biggest dispenser for Ohioans is in Michigan.” huffman said testimony on Tuesday. “We have to turn it around and make it more approachable so people can come here and have a product that is safe and viable.”

Senate Bill 261 would also have allowed state-licensed medical marijuana growers to expand their growing businesses. Although the new bill does not include provisions for increasing the amount of cultivated space allowed, Huffman said he was open to amending the law to increase the amount of cultivated area.

“In our discussions with Senator Schuhling, we felt this was a positive move and a positive change for the industry,” Huffman said. “At the same time, I hope that members of Congress will be happy with that.”

Recreational Marijuana Proposals Under Consideration

Lawmakers in Ohio are also considering a bill to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. Earlier this month, Secretary of State Frank LaRose resubmitted a proposal to legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older and impose his 10% tax on commercial cannabis products. Activists had hoped the bill would be reflected in his votes in the November midterm elections, but legal challenges caused delays and he agreed to revisit the issue with state officials this year. bottom. If the legislature doesn’t approve the bill he has four months, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the group spearheading the legalization effort, will submit a proposal to voters in the fall. You can collect signatures.

Despite the adult-use marijuana legalization bill, Huffman, a doctor, said he was still interested in improving the state’s medical marijuana program. He said it would create an environment where there are very few

“To me, this bill is not about voting initiatives, it’s about making the industry the best it can be,” Huffman said.

Trent Woloveck, chief strategy officer for Jushi, a vertically integrated multistate cannabis operator that opened Beyond Hello Cincinnati, the company’s first medical marijuana dispensary, in Ohio last week, told state lawmakers to pass Senate Bill 9. asked to approve. high times.

“If approved, SB 9 will expand eligibility criteria, approve additional management forms and codify mechanisms to enable responsible and progressive industry growth, thereby ensuring safe and tested of medical cannabis products available to more Ohioans,” said Woloveck. “Ultimately, the changes proposed at SB 9 will promote a stable supply chain, lower product prices, and generally benefit Ohio patients.”

Senate Bill 9 has been referred to the Senate Committee on General Government for consideration. At Tuesday’s hearing, the committee’s Republican chairman, Sen. Michael Luli, said the committee would expedite the bill.

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