COLUMBUS, OH — Legislation to allow the medical use of marijuana has been introduced to the Ohio legislature.
House Bill 153 was introduced to the House by Rep. Robert F. Hagan (D-Youngstown) on May 2, the same day he introduced Joint Resolution 6, which seeks to place an adult-use legalization bill before voters. The bill is co-sponsored by two fellow Democrats, Reps. Mike Foley and Dan Ramos.
If passed, House Bill 153 would allow patients with a physician’s recommendation, or their designated caregivers, to possess up to two hundred grams (a little over 7 ounces) of usable medical marijuana and grow up to twelve mature marijuana plants.
The proposal does not include authorizing medical marijuana dispensaries, but does allow caregivers to be compensated for cultivating marijuana for registered patients. Caregivers must be 21 or older, and would be subject to the same quantity limits.
The bill would also protect valid medical marijuana card holders from other states visiting Ohio from arrest if they are found in possession of marijuana.
Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana would include cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, Chron’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, nail patella, multiple sclerosis, any debilitating spinal cord injury or disease, mylomalacia, celiac disease, sickle cell anemia, Cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe or chronic pain, severe or chronic nausea, seizures (including epilepsy), and severe or persistent muscle spasms.
The proposal includes provisions banning the use of medical marijuana in schools, public places, and on public transportation.
Employers would not be allowed to refuse work to medical marijuana patients, but they would also not be required to accommodate medical marijuana use in the workplace or working while impaired.
According to a May 2013 Fox News nationwide telephone poll of 1,110 adults, 85 percent of Americans favor allowing doctors to authorize specified amounts of marijuana for patients suffering from serious illnesses.
Since 1996, nineteen states and the District of Columbia have approved legislation allowing for the use of cannabis therapy by qualified patients.