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Ohio: House Passes Medical Cannabis Plan

Article by CRRH Story by Derrick Stanley

Ohio House lawmakers passed a plan to legalize medical cannabis Tuesday in a 70-25 vote.

The bill’s sponsor GOP Stephen Huffman, an emergency room physician, said the proposal is what is best for patients after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration failed to act.

“I am absolutely convinced that there is therapeutic value in medical cannabis,” said Huffman, after reciting a portion of the Hippocratic Oath that physicians take to care for patients. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind.”

Ohio’s GOP-controlled legislature is not ready to accept all forms of medical cannabis, though. Patients would not be allowed to grow cannabis at home or to smoke it. Employers could still fire employees for having cannabis in their system, even if they are a patient with a doctor’s recommendation.

Patients would be allowed to use a vaporizer, which heats cannabis into a gas rather than burning it to smoke.

Democrats were upset about the provision that allowed employers to discipline or fire employees for cannabis use, even if it were recommended by a physician.

“It’s kind of like we have schizophrenia here. We want to make it legal, but we want to punish people for it,” said Rep. Dave Leland, D-Columbus.

The proposal now heads to the Senate, where minor changes are expected.

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