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Proposal to legalize medical marijuana passes Ohio House

House Bill 523 aims to give patients, doctors alternatives for treatment of severe injuries, illnesses
May 10, 2016
Stephanie D. Howse News

State Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) today announced the passage of House Bill (HB) 523, legislation to legalize the use of certain forms of medical marijuana in Ohio to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries, including cancer, chronic pain, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease spinal cord injury, HIV and AIDS.

“The passage of HB 523 is a step in the right direction towards ensuring that Ohioans struggling with certain chronic illnesses or diseases have access to additional methods of medical treatment to help maintain their quality of life,” said Howse. “I remain hopeful that this legislation will further the conversation surrounding the decriminalization of marijuana and will compel the General Assembly to further review the full spectrum of related issues.”

Under the bill, patients would receive treatment from physicians who must obtain a license to prescribe medical marijuana. The physicians would be required to send clinical reports to a Medical Marijuana Control Commission every 90 days. Doctors could prescribe cannabis oil, tinctures, plant material, edibles or patches to treat a variety of medical illnesses. The bill allows cannabis to be vaporized, but not smoked.

The Medical Marijuana Control Commission created in HB 523 is an appointed nine-member board responsible for licensing the cultivators, processors, retail dispensaries and independent labs that grow, test and distribute medical marijuana. In conjunction with the State Medical Board, the commission regulates and oversees physicians who prescribe marijuana. The commission is also charged with adopting rules to qualify past low-level marijuana offenders to work in the industry.

The bill now moves to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.