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After the state Senate and House both approved the law,¬†Ohio’s medical marijuana bill now awaits the signature of Governor John Kasich. Should Kasich sign the bill into law, Ohio would become America’s 25th medical marijuana state.

The bill narrowly passed the Senate by a vote of 18-15 late yesterday while the House voted 67-28 in favor of the amended bill. While almost 90% of Ohioans poll in favor of medical marijuana, the bill saw some uncertainty and opposition because of its restrictive nature.

Like similar bills in Minnesota and New York, this bill does not allow Ohioans to smoke dried cannabis flower nor grow cannabis at home. Additionally, this bill functions as somewhat of a blockade on a more progressive bill spearheaded by Ohioans for Medical Marijuana and MPP (Marijuana Policy Project) that would allow more conditions and more liberal marijuana use.

In addition to expanding the 20 medical conditions approved for prescriptions in this bill, the MPP-led bill would prevent employer’s from firing employees who use medical marijuana.

Those proponents are still collecting signatures to qualify that ballot initiative for a November vote. However, Governor Kasich has publicly stated he will “campaign vigorously” against that more liberal bill.

While this government-led bill certainly doesn’t reach enough citizens, it still represents a step in the right direction for Ohio’s patients in need of medical marijuana.

Bernie Canter

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