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Another Try for Medical Marijuana

With a Republican controlled House, the Ohio legislature isn’t likely to pass marijuana reform any time soon, but advocates for allowing medical marijuana in our state are still trying to move the ball down-field. Although marijuana legalization isn’t strictly an issue that falls out based on party affiliation (Obama hasn’t worked to change federal law), the general balance between “law and order” verses “permissiveness” does.

Representative Bob Hagan isn’t that hopeful his measure will pass, according to reporting in The Review. But by proposing the legislation, Hagan gets a chance to air the issues surrounding marijuana for medical use and attempt to gain support for a successful move down the road.

HB 153 was discussed before the health committee of the House last week.

"We, in this piece of legislation and in this initiative, want to make sure that it takes care of those individuals that are in pain, that are in chronic pain, and that we do everything we can to make sure that's where it goes," Hagan said.

Hagan also admitted that the most likely way medical marijuana will come to Ohio is through a ballot measure that changes our state constitution. For that to happen, a petition drive would need “more than 380,000 signatures” – the number required to place it on the ballot in 2014.

In Ohio, there is no mechanism for the citizens to pass a law directly through a ballot measure and vote. Changing the state constitution is possible, but that’s a higher hurdle to jump. The combination of these limitations explains why we don’t already have medical marijuana in Ohio, since poll numbers show the public generally approves of the idea.

For now, this new measure will once again keep the medical marijuana issue in the news and give supporters a rallying point, even though the realities of politics in Ohio means it will be DOA.

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