Before the Ohio medical cannabis bill can come into effect, several changes will have to be made, The Columbus Dispatch reports. Among the changes will be a determination as to just who is responsible for creating the rules and regulations that will govern a medical cannabis program. However, the report says that lawmakers still hope to pass the bill before the June break.
Existing restrictions, including a home-grown cultivation ban and a ban on smoking as a means of cannabis administration are likely to be retained. In its original form, the bill said that regulation would fall to a nine member control commission, but changing this provision to task an existing state board with regulation has been proposed. If this proposal is implemented, the control of medical cannabis will become the responsibility of the State Pharmacy Board with the commission acting as advisors.
Other provisions that are being questioned include the requirement that doctors who wish to prescribe medical cannabis should have had relatively lengthy relationship with their patients before a cannabis prescription can be issued. It is believed that this proviso may be softened.
Medical cannabis bill lists 20 ailments
As in other states with medical cannabis programs, the bill stipulates which medical conditions can be considered as suitable for treatment with medical cannabis. These include cancer, seizure disorders, PTSD, MS and chronic pain. A process for revising this list is required and represents one of the reasons for the hold-up in implementation.
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2 years before doctors can prescribe
Even if everything goes smoothly, it may be 2 years before doctors can begin to prescribe under the bill. Medical cannabis patients already seeking relief through medical cannabis illegally are concerned.
Motor cycle crash victim Jason Durham is among these objectors. The pain killers he can legally use have unpleasant side effects, and he says that medical Cannabis proved to be a better solution. He is dismayed by the length of time he will have to wait in order to obtain legal medical cannabis as a treatment. He agrees that medical cannabis is no means a panacea for all ills, but says there is sufficient evidence for its use in pain relief.
An April poll found that 90% of Ohio residents felt that medical cannabis should be allowed, but many say that the legal concessions are too restrictive and that implementation is going much too slowly.
Employers and employees have workplace concerns
Democrats are raising the issue of dismissal of employees arriving for work under the influence of high-THC cannabis. A Senator says that employers won’t accept a ruling that says employees can work while under the influence. But other states have already dealt with this question, concluding that safety, work performance and misconduct issues such as intoxication should be handled as they were before with the exception that medical cannabis use in itself would not be grounds for discrimination.
What’s the solution?
New legislation should never be passed willy-nilly. Careful discussion and consideration are needed – but while this process is playing out, medical cannabis patients have to wait – or break the law. Is there a solution?