Blue Flower

For the past two years, Congress has passed annual spending bills which included a provision protecting those who engage in the state-sanctioned use and dispensing of medical cannabis from undue prosecution by the Department of Justice. However, members of Congress have yet to taken action to reauthorize this provision and therefore the law is set to expire at the end of the month.

The amendment, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, maintains that federal funds can not be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”
Just last month, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the amendment, opining that federal officials are not permitted to engage in the criminal prosecution of those who are involved in activity related to medical marijuana absent evidence that the defendants are in clear violation of state law. However, this protection ceases to exist if the provision is not renewed — putting hundreds of thousands of patients and providers at risk.+

Please use NORML's contact tool to contact your federally elected officials and urge them to move quickly to reauthorize the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment and to keep these important patient protections in place.

Ohio Patient Network would like express our appreciation and support for all those who have worked for this day.  HB523, the Medical Marijuana Control Program has been signed by Governor Kasich and make Ohio the 26th state to pass medical marijuana laws in contrast to the Federal Government laws.   The bill language can be found on the Legislative website with this link.  The legislative analysis summary of this bill can be found on this link.

Below are some details Medical Marijuana Control Program

·         Permits a patient, on the recommendation of a physician, to use medical marijuana to treat a qualifying medical condition.

·         Qualifying conditions can be modified by a petition process to the state medical board

·         Enables a caregiver to assist a medical marihuana patient.

·         Enables legal protections for patients, caregiver, suppliers and medical professionals

·         Grants some legal protections for patients with doctor recommendation as soon a bill is effective after the Governor signs the bill!

·         Requires that the Ohio Department of Commerce and State Board of Pharmacy administer a Medical Marijuana Control Program

·         Establishes the Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee and authorizes it to make recommendations concerning the Medical Marijuana Control Program to the Department of Commerce, Board of Pharmacy, and State Medical Board.  Advisory committee is made up of two doctor, two pharmacist with one of each being a supporter of medical marijuana, as well those who represents law enforcement, labor, metal health, nurse, caregiver, agriculture addiction and a one who represent a patient.

·         Authorizes the Board of Pharmacy to register patients and caregivers and to issue licenses to medical marijuana retail dispensaries.

·         Authorizes the Department of Commerce to issue licenses to medical marijuana cultivators, processors, and testing laboratories.

·         Authorizes the Medical Board to issue certificates to physicians seeking to recommend treatment with medical marijuana. The board shall approve one or more continuing medical

·         Provides for that the medical board shall approve one or more continuing medical education courses of study about medical marijuana.

·         Prohibits a cultivator, processor, retail dispensary, or laboratory from being located or relocating within 500 feet of a school, church, public library, public playground, or public park.

·         Authorizes local legislative authority  (Cities & township to adopt regulations to prohibit, or limit the number of, retail dispensaries)

·         The bill requires that the Board of Pharmacy establish a toll-free telephone line.

·         Provides that Ohio will be a "Safe harbor" for the provision of banking services

The Senate passed HB523 modified by the Senate.  The vote was 18 yea to 15 nay at 6:03pm 5/15/16. You can watch a video of the discussion on the Ohio Channel starting at time frame 1:25. The Ohio House then quickly concurred to the modifications by the Senate and passed HB523.  The vote was 67 Yea to 28 Nay at 10:18 pm on 5/25/16. A video of the discussion is on the Ohio Channel at Time frame 1:12. Below is a listing of how the Senators voted 

Yea votes - Troy Balderson(R), Bill Beagle(R), Kevin Bacon(R), Dave Burke(R), Bill Coley(R), Randy Gardner(R), Bob Hackett(R), Frank LaRose(R), Peggy Lehner(R), Gayle Manning(R), Scott Oelslager(R), Bill Seitz (R), Edna Brown(D), Charleta Tavares(D), Cecil Thomas(D), Tom Sawyer(D), Joe Schiavoni(D) and Kenny Yuko(D).

Nay votes  - John Eklund(R), Cliff Hite(R), Jay Hottinger(R), Jim Hughes(R), Shannon Jones(R), Kris Jordan(R), Larry Obhof(R), Bob Peterson(R), Keith Faber(R), Toni Patton and Joe Uecker(R), Capri Cafao(D), Lou Gentile(D), Mike Skindell(D) and Sandra Williams(D)

 

Medical marijuana patients and responsible marijuana consumers are requested to attend a summit on Tuesday and speak up regarding their driving record and lack of impairment after consuming marijuna. Note with the passage of HB523, Medical Marijuana patients are especially encouraged to attend.

The following was announced in the Cincinnati Enquirer

Triple-A (AAA) and the Ohio Department of Public Safety are joining forces to combat drug-impaired driving in Greater Cincinnati.

The inaugural regional Drugged Driving Summit will take place June 14 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Blue Ash at 5901 Pfeiffer Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45242.

Representatives from the AAA National Office, U.S. Department of Transportation/National Highway Safety Administration, Gov. Kasich's Highway Safety Administration, the U.S. Attorney's office, along with law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, toxicologists and others will be present.

Medical Marijuana patients are especially encouraged to attend a summit on Tuesday for Medical Marijuana & Driving is also posted on FACEBOOK at

https://www.facebook.com/events/849380315193365/

As a U.S. Army veteran in the 82nd Airborne I was proud to report on Thursday, May 19th 2016, United States Congressional Representatives United States Congressional Representatives finally voted to permit Veterans Administration Doctors to recommend Cannabis (AKA marijuana) to our Veterans for medical use.  But the Senate''s and House of Representatives decision got mysteriously lost when the conference committee meet to work out differences in their respective bills.

Ohio Patient Network learned that a representative from Maryland was to blame for reversing the will of the Senate and the House.  At this time it looks like it was a Congressman who is also a doctor that is responsible for sabotaging our Veterans options to have a VA doctors recommendation. OPN will identify the culprit once we have solid proof. 

Below is our original articlear from when it passed the House after passing the Senate.


 After years of saying no, the Senate and House finally recognized that marijuana has therapeutic benefits especially for our Veterans with PTSD.  Note there are other conditions that can benefit from the use of cannabis.  Below is a picture and map of Ohio Congressional Representatives and how they voted.  Please identify your representative and congratulate or shame them for their vote, this link provides a tool to ID all your elected officials using your full zip code with 4 last digits. 

The actual text of Congressman's Blumenauer amendment H R 4974 and voted on 19-May-2016  is as follows:

None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement, administer, or enforce Veterans Health Administration directive 2011-004 (or directive of the same substance) with respect to the prohibition on VA providers from completing forms seeking recommendations or opinions regarding a Veteran's participation in a State marijuana program.

You can read news articles on Veterans access to marijuana in the Military Times, Washington Post, US NewsBloomberg NewsHuffington Post and others via a search keywords congress house veterans medical marijuana. Also NORML has a good tool to find all your elected representatives, so use it and send a message to your congressional representative.