Ohio looks to expand medical marijuana eligibility through legislation

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The state is considering legislation to allow more conditions to qualify for medical marijuana use

Being eligible to be part of the medical marijuana program in Ohio is not something everyone is privileged to be a part of. However, state lawmakers want to leave this in the past, and through another bill, could soon expand access to this market, which would also change the government entity responsible for the process.

Last Tuesday, the General Government Committee was joined by Senators Kirk Schuring and Steve Huffman, who introduced Senate Bill 9. Under the proposal, a new Division of Marijuana Control within the Ohio Department of Commerce would become responsible for most of the work of the current Ohio Board of Pharmacy in regulating medical marijuana.

A broader range of Buckeye State residents would begin to have access to medical marijuana. This means that in addition to the list of eligible ailments that remain in place today, the new legislation would also include a broader list of conditions such as migraines, arthritis, chronic muscle spasms, terminal illnesses, and opioid use disorder.

Any condition that a physician has the ability to treat and classifies as “debilitating” can be recommended for the program. Huffman had previously introduced an early version of the legislation.

Although it was tested by the Ohio House of Representatives last month, the measure failed to survive in committee. Both lawmakers in charge argue that many Ohioans are forced to travel across state lines to obtain medical marijuana products, in part because of inefficiencies in Ohio’s current system.

States like Michigan appear to be offering extremely cheap cannabis-based medicines. To attract customers, Huffman clarifies that “we need to change that and make it more friendly for people to come here and have a safe, viable product.”