Medical Marijuana Bill Introduced

This week the House Medical Marijuana Task Force proposed a bill that would provide tightly regulated patient access to medical marijuana under physician supervision.

On the task force, the proposal emerged as a consensus among the medical community, law enforcement, employers, and labor.  These interests all worked together to defeat Issue 3 at the ballot last year, and are concerned about two new efforts to use the Ohio constitution to legalize medical marijuana, and allow home growth of marijuana.  Medical marijuana legalization polls extremely popularly among Ohio voters.

The proposal contains provisions sought by the OMA to protect workplace safety:  It clarifies that employers are not required to accommodate an employee’s use of medical marijuana; it allows an employer to refuse to hire, discharge, or take adverse employment action against a person because of that person’s use of medical marijuana; and, disqualifies from eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits an individual who is discharged from employment because of that person’s use of medical marijuana.

The proposal would establish a Medical Marijuana Control Commission.  The commission would be charged with regulating and licensing growers, dispensaries, labs, processors and physicians.  Home cultivation would be prohibited.

OMA chairman Bill Sopko, President, William Sopko & Sons Co., Inc., sits on the 15-member task force, which held seven hearings, and heard more than 100 witnesses for more than 23 hours.  A select committee established by the House Speaker will have jurisdiction over the bill.

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