25 states now call marijuana “medicine.” Why doesn’t the DEA?
John Kasich signed Ohio’s medical marijuana bill into law yesterday, making it the 25th state (26 counting Washington, D.C.) to allow some form of medical marijuana use.
Ohio’s measure is more restrictive than medical marijuana bills in many other states. It does not allow patients to smoke marijuana — they must ingest it orally via edible products, or use a vaporizer. It doesn’t allow patients to grow their own marijuana, and only a handful of conditions, including epilepsy, chronic pain and cancer, qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation.
Medical marijuana advocates had launched a campaign to put a broader medical marijuana bill before voters this fall. But the bill approved by legislature and signed by Gov. Kasich was in many tended to stave off more permissive ballot measures. And it appears to have been successful: the group pushing for the ballot initiative recently suspended that campaign, calling the legislature’s bill “imperfect” but saying the bill’s passage represented “a joyous day for the thousands of Ohioans who will finally be able to safely access much-needed medicine.
This year has been a symbolically significant year for medical marijuana policy: with the passage of legislation in Pennsylvania and Ohio nearly 175 million Americans — over half of the population — now have access to medical marijuana.