Today Representative Huffman's (R-Tipp) bill HB523, the Medical Marijuana bill passed 70 to 25. This bill was the the result of the weeks of hearings by a Task Force formed by Speaker Rosenberger. Then followed by Rep. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) Chairing the House Select Committee on Medical Marijuana. Representative Huffman served as vice chair. The other members were Tim Brown (R-Bowling Green); Marlene Anielski (R-Walton Hills), Ryan Smith (R-Gallipolis); Lou Terhar (R-Cincinnati); Dan Ramos (D-Lorain & Task Force member), ranking minority member; Nicholas Celebrezze (D-Parma); and Christie Bryant Kuhns (D-Cincinnati). Note the Bill passed out of the committee last Thursday unanimously.
A major section of the Medical Marijuana Legislation HB523 inserts Section 3796 into to the Ohio Revised Code in Title  XXXVII HEALTH - SAFETY – MORALS. HB523 is officially found at https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-documents?id=GA131-HB-523
There were numerous statements of support and not being perfect by the representatives; but neither is the MPP ballot or any other MMJ bill or ballot perfect yet. The following representatives voiced their support they are Huffman, Schuring, Ramos, Brown, Young and Strahorn (from Dayton) mentioned former Ohio Patient Network President Tonya Davis. The following Representative had some concerns especially about the employer issue, they were Leland, Boyce, Reece, and Rogers. Representative Fedor opposed the bill because of the employer issues.
Ohio Patient Network expects the bill to be introduced into the Senate Wednesday (5/11/16) and start hearings next week. In the meantime you listen to the discussion that was very interesting prior to the passage by the various representative who rose to speak about the legislation. You can listen to the discussion which starts about 3 minutes into the recording below.
Now is the time to speak up to your state Senator and protect it from being gutted by the Senate. If we can make improvements without endangering the bill passage, that is great. Let not make the mistake of only accepting perfection.
Please send Ohio Patient Network your language suggestion to our email (see banner above) in the format below and Ohio Patient Network will do it’s best to initiate improvements. In my experience it is most effective when trying to raise a concern or issue is to also include a preferred fix in similar Ohio Revised Code format.
From ( existing or legislature proposed Ohio Revised Code language)
To (suggested replacement Ohio Revised Code language)
Also when reading legislation published by the legislature it has the following format
- Underlined is new language
- Strikeout is existing language that is being removed
- Existing language is neither underlined not stricken out
On April 13th Ohio Patient Network (OPN) attended the Ohio State Representative Task force on Medical Marihuana. It was started with a introduction by the Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger who handed it off to Representative Cliff Schuring. OPN managed to get in several question regarding marihuana’s scheduling, patient reciprocity and affirmative defense.
View the video of the State Representative’s press conference or listen via a link to the audio of the press conference. Please read our most recent Press Release regarding Ohio Patient Network position regarding medical marihuana legislation. We will be issuing a Press Release after the introduction of the bill slated for this week with some refined suggestion regarding Ohio legislation.
We will be following and participating in the legislation to make sure the patient perspective is heard and concerns addressed to the best of our ability. Please contact us with your suggestions using our email above or call if you are interested in providing testimony for this effort.
At the “Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Policy, Research and Medical Practice” conference that took place in Prague March 4-7, 2015, representatives from organizations of medical Cannabis patients from 13 countries met and established the International Medical Cannabis Patient Coalition (IMCPC) (now with members from 39 countries), and put together a Declaration addressing the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs 2016.
The Declaration called on the United Nations (UN) to take the following actions:
• Recommend that increased attention and resources be given at the national and international level to the treatment with medical Cannabis and cannabinoids, and its research in particular.
• Invite all countries to secure stable, safe, economically available access to medical Cannabis and its derivatives to everyone who is indicated medically for such treatment.
• Require that the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs 2016 request that Governments either: exclude the Cannabis out of the 1961 UN Convention with no other actions, or prepare, debate and accept a Special UN Convention on Cannabis, that would be based on the scientific evidence, human rights, and the wellbeing of societies, and as suggested by the World Health Organization, re-schedules Cannabis to account for its medical use, and in amendment prepare special regulations for medical Cannabis that would not mimic those of medical opiates and opium
You can read the full report at http://american-safe-access.s3.amazonaws.com/criticalreview.pdf . The document was prepared by the Americans for Safe Access and presented at the Unity Conference 2016: A Conference on Harmonization of Global Cannabis.
The United Nations General Assembly will convene a special session on the world drug problem from 19 to 21 April 2016 at UN Headquarters in New York. Note a session organized by the Government of Urugua titled "CANNABIS AND THE CONVENTIONS: UNGASS AND BEYOND" will convene on April 20 (4/20). More information on the United Nations meeting can be found at http://www.unodc.org/ungass2016/en/about.html
On April 5th, the Government Oversight Committee passed SB204 regarding the repeal of mandatory driver's license suspension for drug offenses. The bill introduced by Senator Seitz is scheduled for a vote by the full Senate and is expected to pass and go on the Ohio house for a vote by the State Representative. Below is Ohio Patient Network's Testimony at the hearing.
Chairman Coley, Vice Chairman Seitz, Ranking Member Yuko, Senators Balderson, Brown, Burke, Jordan, LaRose, Obhof, Patton, Peterson, and Skindell. Two years ago I came to Columbus speaking on behalf of Ohio NORML, the state chapter of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, in support of Senate Concurrent Resolution 27 proposed by Senators Eklund, Skindell and Seitz. Today I am no longer associated with Ohio NORML and serve as the President of the oldest medical marihuana organization here in Ohio, Ohio Patient Network.
Current Ohio drug laws, even those concerning minor marihuana or paraphernalia offenses, mandate that “the court shall suspend for not less than six months or more than five years the offender's driver's or commercial driver's license”. These laws have their origin in a Federal 1991 legislation called the Solomon-Lautenberg amendment (See Editorial in Attachment 1). It required States to impose a mandatory six-month driver’s license suspension for drug offenses, or face loss of federal highway funds. States were allowed to pass legislation opting out of this law with no loss of highway funds.
I undertook a survey of other States’ laws concerning marihuana and driver’s license suspension and found that the majority of states do not even have these laws. They opted out, please see my map (Attachment 2) included in my testimony packet. A further examination of the states that still have these types of laws on the books reveals that Ohio has one of the toughest laws; driver’s license suspension can be up to five years in Ohio. Laws like these are a detriment to Ohio’s economy.
People without a driver’s license are likely to either lose a job or not able to obtain one. Criminal justice experts agree that employment is critical to a person’s success, but it is also important to our own state’s economic success.
I am a cancer survivor, who used marijuana during my many months of chemo therapy. Luckily, I personally have not been affected by this law, but many Ohioans have been.
I have two letters (Attachment 3) from Michael Revercomb and Heather Fitzgerald who live here in Columbus but were unable to attend today’s hearing. Both Heather’s and Michael’s lives have been deeply affected by the loss of their driver’s licenses due to a minor misdemeanor marihuana offense. Attached are short statements of Michael’s & Heather’s personal experiences. Note these letters are from when SCR 27 was being discussed.
My concerns on the proposed language are basically focused on the change from SHALL SUSPEND to MAY SUSPEND. I will be frank. If an offense has nothing to do with driving, our laws should not take a driver’s license away. On a separate page (Attachment 4), I suggest a change to the bill’s language. I urge you to support my proposed change and this important legislation not because you support or oppose marihuana reform, but because you care about Ohio’s economy.
Senator Seitz, thank you for proposing this important compliment to SB 337 the Collateral Sanctions Bill.
Ohio Patient Network
The Full Testimony with attachments is available via this link.
New York, NY: The enactment of state laws permitting physicians to authorize cannabis therapy to qualified patients has not stimulated increases in marijuana use by young people, according to findings published in The International Journal on Drug Policy.
A team of researchers from Columbia University in New York City reviewed federal data regarding rates of self-reported monthly marijuana use among 12 to 17-year-olds between the years 2002 and 2011.
While the study's authors acknowledged that many medical marijuana states have greater overall rates of youth cannabis use compared to non-medical states, they affirmed that these jurisdictions already possessed elevated use rates prior to changes in law, and that the laws' enactment did not play a role in influencing youth use patterns.
"While states with MML (medical marijuana laws) feature higher rates of adolescent marijuana use, to date, no major U.S. national data set, including the NSDUH (US National Survey on Drug Use in Households), supports that MML are a cause of these higher use levels," investigators concluded. "[W]hen within-state changes are properly considered and pre-MML prevalence is properly controlled, there is no evidence of a differential increase in past-month marijuana use in youth that can be attributed to state medical marijuana laws."
Their findings are similar to those of a 2015 study that assessed the relationship between state medical marijuana laws and rates of self-reported adolescent marijuana use over a 24-year period in a sampling of over one million adolescents in 48 states. The study's authors reported no increase in teens' overall cannabis use that could be attributable to changes in law, and acknowledged a "robust" decrease in consumption among 8th graders. They concluded, "[T]he results of this study showed no evidence for an increase in adolescent marijuana use after the passage of state laws permitting use of marijuana for medical purposes. ... [C]oncerns that increased marijuana use is an unintended effect of state marijuana laws seem unfounded."
Page 10 of 12