Ohio looks as if it is going to become the twenty-fifth state to legalize medical cannabis, whether it is through a new state law or a voted constitutional amendment. State lawmakers, as well as two citizen advocacy groups, are working at the same time on proposals to bring cannabis as medicine to those living in Ohio with specific medical conditions. However, how the legislature and proponents approach the subject is entirely different, and the two cannabis supporting groups are introducing separate versions too. Here is a look at some important difference among the proposed bill (House Bill 523) the Marijuana Policy Project Amendment, and the Medicinal Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Amendment.
As for the impact, the bill would only change a law in Ohio, and both ballot proposals would amend the Ohio constitution. When it comes to cannabis in its smokable form, the legislation neither confirms nor denies it while both of the ballot issues allow it. Growing marijuana at home is not permitted under the legislation but is allowed with restrictions under both the ballot issues. The Marijuana Policy Project amendment would permit fifteen large cultivators and many small farmers, but the legislation and the cannabis and hemp amendment do not specify grower numbers.
In the legislation, there are no specific qualifying medical conditions for medical cannabis listed, but both amendments include a list of conditions and diseases that would allow someone to obtain medical marijuana. The legislation also lists out strict requirements for physicians that would need to be renewed every ninety days, but the two amendments do not have any requirements. According to the legislation, it would also provide a “safe harbor” for banks and financial institutions to avoid being charged for working with individuals in the cannabis industry. However, once more, neither amendment includes any sort of specific banking provision.