Ohio Governor and former Republican presidential candidate John Kasich signed a bill into law Wednesday authorizing physicians to prescribe marijuana for those affected by a variety of health conditions.
Although the law mandates the herb become available within two years, lawmakers predict marijuana will be planted within one year and will become available to patients within 16 months, pending production and proper testing. Ohio’s Department of Commerce, Ohio Pharmacy Board and Ohio Medical Board will play a role in oversight, including authorship of regulatory measures.
However, the law does not protect employees if their employers have strict laws against consumption. Lawmakers pushed the measure through due to increased support for a more relaxed law that was slated for this November’s election.
With 90% of Ohio resident’s support for medical marijuana, Ohioans for Medical Marijuana suspended its effort to gather signatures for the next election.
"This is a joyous day for the thousands of Ohioans who will finally be able to safely access much-needed medicine," proclaimed spokesman Aaron Marshall. "We still have much work ahead of us to improve this imperfect law.."
"The new law comes at the heels of a ballot measure rejected last year by Ohio voters to enact a medical and recreational marijuana program. Critics successfully educated the public into the idiosyncrasies, which would have created a monopoly of production to only select growers.
Advocates are elated as Ohio joins almost half of the states in the union, in addition to Washington, D.C., to legalize pot in some form. It is only a matter of time before prohibition becomes a thing of the past.