What has John Kasich been doing since he ended his bid for the presidency of the United States? Well, he’s been busy. On Wednesday, he officially made Ohio the 25th state to approve the use of medical marijuana for patients suffering from epilepsy, chronic pain, AIDS, amyotrphic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, Parkinson’s, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), sickle cell anemia, spinal cord disease or injury, Tourette’s, traumatic brain injury, ulcerative colitis, and cancer treatment side effects such as those produced by chemotherapy. Despite 2015’s epic defeat of Issue 3, cannabis will become available to patients in Ohio following decisions on regulatory concerns.
Why Issue 3 Failed to Legalize Cannabis in Ohio
Ohio has tried to legalize cannabis before – with very definitive results. So why has the population of Ohio changed their minds so quickly on the subject of legalization. The answer is simple: Issue 3, the original 2015 ballot initiative that would have allowed the state to legalize recreational cannabis use would have handed exclusive rights to cultivation of cannabis in that state to “a cartel of investors” called ResponsibleOhio. Since no one wanted a monopoly on marijuana cultivation, the measure was defeated, proving once again that the nation is ready for legalization – but only their terms. In other words, people who support cannabis legalization in Ohio do not necessarily support corporate cannabis cultivation which prevents everyone else from cultivating on their own. Ohioans had also been able to observe both Colorado’s and Washington’s models prior to voting on Issue 3 – in Colorado anyone with a cannabis business license is allowed to sell it, and in Washington, state agencies centralized distribution. Both models seem to be working well, so why bring a cartel into the situation? Among those who were against the measure were the Drug Policy Alliance and the Marijuana Policy Project, although NORML did concede to endorsement, probably thinking it had no other choice. That turned out not to be the case.
How Will Ohio’s Cannabis Legalization Plan Work?
Medical cannabis patients in Ohio will need a doctor’s referral when the plan goes into effect in the next 90 days, when legalization of medical cannabis takes place. Although Kasich did not specifically endorse or state his support of legalization, he did not that he believed in doctors’ recommendations and “wanted to help children in pain.”
Although regulations for dispensaries, cannabis growers, and patients will take some time, Kasich’s signature will make it legal to possess medical cannabis in Ohio as of September 6th. Following this date, Ohio’s Department of Commerce will have to create marijuana cultivation rules and timelines, dispensary regulations, and instruct doctors to apply to Ohio’s State Medical Board for cannabis medical marijuana certification. By most estimates, buying marijuana in Ohio won’t be possible until 2017 or 2018; and even then smoking it will still be illegal; the provisions of the legalization only allow for cannabis that is vaporized, eaten, or in the form of an oil. Recreational use is still illegal in Ohio for now, as is growing for personal use at home.