With the signing of a medical marijuana bill in Ohio a few days ago, half of the USA’s states have now legalized medical cannabis.
We mentioned in late May that an Ohio cannabis bill had cleared the Senate and was sent to Governor John Kasich for his blessing; which he gave last week.
It was a blessing that may have been issued somewhat under duress. According to Cleveland.com, there was no official signing ceremony or comment from the Governor’s communications team.
The Governor had previously indicated via a spokesperson that “He will do anything within legal means to help, but he doesn’t feel that medical marijuana is the answer.”
Regardless of the circumstances of the bill being signed; it’s a step forward for thousands in Ohio suffering who will be able to gain some relief.
It could be a year or two before authorized cannabis distribution will occur in the state and even then, it will only be available to those with a fairly limited set of conditions. However, from September, patients will have an “affirmative defense” against prosecution for possessing marijuana if they have written permission from their doctor to use marijuana in an allowable form.
Ohio’s move means medical cannabis has now been legalized in 25 U.S. states, plus Washington DC. Here’s the full list:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- Rhode Island
Qualifying conditions vary between states – a listing of common qualifying conditions can be viewed on Wikipedia. It’s interesting to note that the most widely approved condition is Multiple Sclerosis, which is accepted in all 25 states with the exception of Texas.
While the legalizing of medicinal marijuana has picked up pace in recent years, it’s been a long road since New Mexico legalized it way back in 1976. It’s often said California was the first state, but it didn’t do so until 20 years later; in 1996.
The only states so far to have legalized medical cannabis for all the following conditions:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
.. are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Tennessee.
While the 25 states may have legalised cannabis for medical applications in particular scenarios, there is still a Federal ban on the plant; making for a very confusing and complex political and law enforcement situation.