COLUMBUS - MAY 19, 2016: House Bill 523 continues to employ overly restrictive regulations that will place a burden on patients. While United Ohio applauds key changes to the bill, including new qualifying conditions and the removal of a requirement for physicians to specify dosage and delivery method, we believe the citizen-led ballot initiative is still the best path forward for a medical marijuana program in Ohio if key issues are not addressed by the legislature.
Key Issues with HB523 Changes
- Licensed Pharmacists – As is the case in Illinois, the economics of operating a dispensary with a limited list of qualifying conditions is poor. The financial burden of a licensed pharmacist will limit the number of dispensaries, and Ohio’s patients will have an undue burden to obtain the medical marijuana that was recommended to them by their physician.
- Ohio Pharmacy Board – The Board is charged with investigating and presenting evidence of violations of any of the federal drug law. It is unclear on how the Ohio Pharmacy Board would legally function under House Bill 523.
- Low Income and Veterans – House Bill 523 removed language to support programs for low-income and veterans. If the legislature will not consider a home grow program, it is critical that they ensure all Ohioans can obtain access if they meet the list of qualifying conditions.
- Affirmative Defense – The addition of an Affirmative Defense is a positive step forward, although removing it 60 days after the application process starts will create unnecessary legal risk for patients.
About United Ohio
UnitedOhio unites the Ohio cannabis community, patients and industry leaders to be a collective force in changing and influencing Ohio's laws to provide legal and safe access to patients. Our coalition, founded in January 2016, has years of experience working with patients and medical professionals, studying what works and what does not, in the 24 other states in our union that have legalized cannabis in some form. Our Vision is to lead Ohio as the preeminent patient advocacy organization for therapeutic cannabis use and research. Our Mission is to (1) Advocate for comprehensive and regulated access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research as a unified coalition; (2) Influence groups and individuals working on cannabis reform on behalf of the patients of Ohio; and (3) Promote patient-prioritized best practices on regulations, strategies and policies for Ohio’s cannabis industry