Ohio Medical Marijuana Bill Heads for a Full Senate Vote

May 24, 2016

Credit CHUCK COKER / FLICKR CC

There have been some changes to the proposed bill that would legalize medical use of marijuana in Ohio. It goes before the full Ohio Senate on Wednesday.

 


A Senate committee has added chronic pain to the list of conditions for which doctors can recommend cannabis. The regulation of cultivators, processors and testing labs will fall under the state’s Commerce Department. There’s now a means for veterans and low-income people to get assistance to pay for medical marijuana. The state medical board will certify doctors who recommend medical cannabis, and the state pharmacy board will license dispensaries and oversee rules for packaging products and registering patients.

 

Chances for passage?

If you talk to Republican Rep. Kirk Schuring, who headed the medical marijuana task force in the House, he will tell you his chamber is good with the changes a Senate Committee made to the House-passed bill.

Senator Kirk Schuring (R-Canton)
Credit OHIO STATEHOUSE

“Those changes are a reflection of a meeting we had on Friday with the administration and Sen. Burke and Sen. Coley, so it has basically been agreed to. The bill is scheduled to be voted out of committee tomorrow and on the Senate floor. And right now, as it stands, we are prepared to concur.”

But Republican Senate President Keith Faber says he's not confident the bill will actually make it through the Senate.

Ohio Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina)
Credit STATE OF OHIO

  “I am not. We will have to talk about that tonight in caucus and see where the Democrats land. I think roughly half my caucus, give or take, are in favor of it. We’ll see where the Democrats are, and I think it’s a mixed bag.”

If the Senate passes the bill  and the House agrees on it, the legislation could be sent to Gov. John Kasich by the end of this week.