Marijuana will be legal for medical use in Ohio starting in September.
Gov. John Kasich signed the bill Wednesday that makes Ohio the 25th state in the country to legalize cannabis for medical use, even though the Federal Drug Administration still classifies it as a controlled substance with no legal use.
The bill will not allow marijuana to be smoked. It will have to be used in patches, vapors, edibles, etc. The bill also does not allow for users to grow marijuana at home.
While marijuana grown in Ohio is months away from being available, those with doctor’s notes can use medical marijuana from other states where it is legal starting in September, 90 days from Wednesday. The Ohio medical marijuana program is expected to be fully operational in about two years.
Those who use marijuana legally can still be fired and denied unemployment benefits if they violate their workplace drug policies.
The Ohio Department of Commerce, State Medical Board and Board of Pharmacy will supervise the use of medical marijuana in the state.
Local jurisdictions would be allowed to block medical marijuana dispensaries and businesses from moving into their areas.
Last year, ResponsibleOhio put a proposed constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot that would have legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use and granted exclusive growing rights to the 10 investor groups bankrolling the campaign. Voters soundly rejected the proposal. But polls showed that 80 to 90 percent of Ohioans favor legalizing medical marijuana.
The bill was sponsored in the House by state Rep. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, a doctor.
Huffman said Ohio took “an important step to both help Ohioans suffering from a wide range of pain and illnesses and in safeguarding our state’s constitution.”
Conditions eligible for medical marijuana in Ohio
AIDS, ALS, Alzheimer’s, cancer, chronic pain, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD, spinal cord conditions, Tourette’s syndrome, traumatic brain injury and sickle cell anemia.
Staff Writer Laura Bischoff contributed to this report.