Ohio: Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Vaporization Measure

oil_bottlesOhio Governor John Kasich has signed legislation into law establishing regulations for the licensed production and dispensing of medical cannabis formulations to qualified patients.

House Bill 523 authorizes the use of various forms of cannabis preparations for the physician-authorized treatment of the following qualifying conditions: acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS); Alzheimer’s disease; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease); cancer; chronic traumatic encephalopathy; Crohn’s disease; epilepsy or other seizure disorders; fibromyalgia; glaucoma; hepatitis C; inflammatory bowel disease; multiple sclerosis; pain that is either of the following nature: (i) Chronic and severe; or (ii) Intractable; Parkinson’s disease; positive status for HIV; post-traumatic stress disorder; sickle cell anemia; spinal cord disease or injury; Tourette’s syndrome; traumatic brain injury; and ulcerative colitis.

The new law, which takes effect in 90 days, requires state regulators to license the production, distribution, and testing of cannabis products, but it forbids home cultivation of the plant.

Cannabis-specific products may be dispensed as oils, tinctures, edibles, patches, or as herbal material. Smoking herbal cannabis is not permitted under the measure; however, the measure does not clarify how this prohibition would be enforced.

The vaporizing of medical cannabis products by patients is permitted by the legislation. Similar smoking restrictions exist in four other states: Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, and Pennsylvania.

THC content in herbal cannabis will be limited to 35 percent under the measure, while extracts will be capped at 75 percent THC.

Although the program is not anticipated to be fully operational until early 2018, provisions in the law provide limited legal protections for qualifying patients who acquire cannabis from alternative sources prior to this date.

A summary of the bill is available from the Ohio Patient Network here.

Ohio is the 26th state to enact statutory language permitting the physician-supervised use of medical marijuana. Last month, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed legislation amending the state’s dormant medical marijuana law to permit the licensed production and distribution of cannabis-infused preparations to qualified patients. However, patients are not anticipated to have access to cannabis products under that law until late 2017 or 2018.

Proponents in Ohio who sought to place a separate, broader medical marijuana measure on the 2016 ballot had recently announced that they were suspending their campaign, stating, “[A]ll in all, [HB 523] is a moderately good piece of legislation passed by lawmakers who were pushed hard by the patient community. We plan on continuing forward as an advocacy effort to ensure that the state of Ohio lives up to the promises contained in HB 523, but also working to better the program utilizing our amendment as a road map for those improvements.”

27 thoughts

  1. 25! Hell yeah! Talk about a tipping point! Not only the 25th state but including Pennsylvania we now have two major swing states that passed marijuana legislatively, which I presume means that the Federal case in San Francisco that will rule on the 280E tax status of the nation’s largest medical marijuana dispensary tomorrow will have to take this new majority of legislatively enacted mmj policy into consideration. Federal law changes much more quickly when we have a fair majority.

    So what was the Ohio legislature so afraid of in the voter initiated policy backed by MPP? I thought it didn’t have home-growing as an option, or did it?

      1. Can’t find the ruling yet on the 280E yet, but here is a great article on the analysis… And the verdict that California will probably legalize, already more than half the states will have medical marijuana dispensaries in operation and the courts and Congress still won’t have the verdict on Federal taxes figured out until next year;


        One good point by the defense’s lawyer Wytowski… (I know that’s not the correct spelling but I couldn’t help it… We have a whole NORML legal team to choose from and the case of the century gets defended by the eyeball from Monsters Inc.) …is that he argues 280E was never intended to regulate marijuana dispensaries, which is true, because they didn’t exist when Congress created the 280E to tax schedule 1 substances back in ’82. Oh well, there’s only billions of tax dollars on the line and the entire future of legal marijuana industry at stake. Should be a fairly interesting verdict.

  2. Ugh. Lawmakers pretending to be physicians. Why include CTE? Because it’s been prominent in the news? CTE can only be “diagnosed” post mortem – there are markers that may suggest CTE, but none that can definitively point to it over many other neurological conditions that aren’t mentioned as acceptable conditions in the text of the bill.


    1. True enough, but perhaps this will lead to lawmakers recognizing they passed a law for preventive treatment instead of causing symptoms with opiates?

      Now that Eugene from the Ravens has the NFL’s attention, why can’t the Browns use marijuana to help find the twisted vertebrae that is restricting the flow of spinal fluid to their brain that is causing the CTE? As Jim McMahon recently said, “all the opiates and pills did was make me numb and not notice the pain… Weed managed my pain while it made the location of the pain perceptible so I finally went to the right specialist and was diagnosed with a flipped vertebrae in my neck.” (And the NFL has “medical specialists …” …right…)
      The NBA should consider allowing marijuana treatment in states that legalize.. Lord knows the Cavaliers need it after the way the Warriors took them down in the finals! Time to light a BIG spliff! 😉

  3. OK, patient – you can have your medicine, but you need to buy it from the state.

    This is SO much better than responsible ohio’s home grow and the “other, better bills that wouldn’t create monopolies” that I was told would coming in 2016.

  4. What’s “HI” in the middle and now high all-around? … O-HI-O OK, all yuks aside, at least patients have access. Oh, yeah, and quality vapor is the best of all worlds. It allows fine dose titration, is easy on the lungs and those around the patient, ans yet still uses whole-plant so that no terpenes, alkaloids, and etc. are lost due to excessive processing. Good job, OH Norml!

  5. Responsible Ohio was much better.. I do have to say that out of all of the “Medical Cannabis States” Ohio will be the first to remotely encourage people to use “Medical Cannabis” MEDICALLY.. No one should smoke cannabis for “Medical Benefits”

    [Editor’s note: Physicians and patients can discern best delivery method for cannabinoids–be it smoking, vaping, eating, tinctures, etc…–not legislators.]

    1. “Smoking herbal cannabis is not permitted under the measure; however, the measure does not clarify how this prohibition would be enforced.” –Editor

      Further remaining to be clarified in law: use of a flexdrawtube oneheater for Vaporization of sifted herbal cannabis rather than $moking! The difference lies in what each individual patient may do:

      “$moking” means what typically happens in a Joint or $igarette– get the thing started burning and several times suck hard enough to reach 700C/1200F, destroying much cannabinoid and terpene before it can escape as quality vapor and getting 4221 combustion toxins including carbon monoxide.

      VAPORIZING with a oneheater means sucking continuously and holding the heatsource far enough below that air entering the screened 1/4″-diam. vapecrater is at or near 197C/385F:
      Suck smooth, slow,
      don’t start glow
      till after 19
      seconds or so.

      PS.– For this purpose everyone needs to know that the cheap imported Chinese lighters are better than Bic lighters because they have a flame-gradation dial, which can be set at half-inch flame height, whereas the Bic delivers only an inch-high flame which makes things get too hot long before 19 seconds. Obviously designed to keep $igarette companies happy, devil take the dying patients, 6,000,000 a year worldwide.

      True someone less timid than this timid loner has to reach the legislators and urge them to specify that a oneheater is a vaporization device rather than a $moking device, even though some new users initially, as they were already used to doing with Joints or $igarettes, are likely to ignite and hotpuff from it.

    2. Im not saying there is no medical value to smoking cannabis but other states will have you believe that smoking is how it should used. In MICHIGAN your not allowed to use cannabis in any concentration form. Michigan “requires” their “Medical Cannabis Users” to smoke their “Medical Cannabis”.. Obviously no family would encourage their child who might NEED cannabis to smoke a joint.. Besides like Mexweed said when combusting your buds your wasting cannabinoids.. With a vape you can set a precise temp and moderate the good cannabinoids from the bad tars toxins and poisons that come with smoking.. Smoking might work as a preventative by supplementing the Endocannabinoid System but that has yet to be proven too.. If the country and the world for that matter are going to try to open up to cannabis and medical use it should be modeled after Rick Simpson Oil which has been tried and true but also yet to be proven officially.. Even if its not yet proven does not mean it does not work.. Cannabis vs Chemo and radiation for cancers.. Im just glad Ohio has got on board..

  6. Ohio should of took legalization when it was handed to them. All you guys could be growing your own 4 plants and SMOKING flowers. Not to mention walking down to the retail store and pick up something interesting, walking around town with an ounce in your pocket. But NOOOOOO! You guys got fooled by that 10 grower monopoly/cartel thingy and voted it down. Bet you all wish you could do a re-vote now huh?

    1. No they flipped the votes and RO didn’t have the balls to demand a recount there was even proof that they did from average citizens so I’m sure a lawyer could have found the fraud but again nobody in RO is smart enough or something to understand that they can do this and have been for years. I for one voted no on 2 and yes on 3 and i think this bill is just fucking stupid. I think I’ll actually be able to get it for medicinal purposes but i still think it’s moronic since it still leaves many out in the dark and basically hands everything over to the government. I hate the ohio government they don’t know how to do their jobs and even when they do they take forever and by the time they do its to late

  7. Governor Kasich, you could possibly collapse the entire economical system single-handedly if you were allowed to make the world’s medical marijuana bill. You’d begin to see massive amounts of companies in the snack food Junk Food Industries shutting down within a month unemployment Skyrocket and massive amounts of home foreclosures excetera excetera .
    In Reading one of the Articles from your office about the cost of marijuana some $15 a gram some ten the good stuff 60 bucks a gram where’d you get this article.
    On this new medical marijuana committee you should hire somebody that knows what they’re talking about. Let me know how you all feel about this and the reading world. Remember our government’s decisions affect us I could only imagine a medication not being available for 90 days and imagine if the heart patients had to use them like suppositories that’s how this bill sounds

  8. NO leaves? Only vaping? NO WAY OHIO!!
    What kind of a “set-up” is this?? KASICH wants us to go to MICHIGAN with MM cards and READ their laws right here on NORML’s site! This law is a JOKE!! NO tinctures in MI, NO WEED in OHIO!!

    [Editor’s note: In a 2002 speech NORML founder Keith Stroup warned of medical cannabis’ ‘box canyon’ effect, that, in time, certain components of the cannabis plant may come to be accepted as medicine or that a particular delivery method must be legally employed over all others; that once cannabis becomes largely pharmaceuticalized, legislators and regulators will hastily switch from being pot prohibitionists to pot pharmaceuticalists (this is what has been largely happening in the ‘CBD-only’ (or vape only…or oil only…) epoch (FL, AL, GA, TX, NY, MN, etc…and now OH too), 2012 to ?.

    Only ending cannabis prohibition can maximize the utility and access to the wonderful plant, decriminalization and medical access are half measure reforms at best.]

    1. To the editor – Perhaps norml should look into what’s going down in Michigan with their legalization initiative. Apparently, the legislature is claiming that over 100k signatures are invalid because their voter status can not be verified at the time of signature. In a addition to that, a bill is sitting on the governors desk that seeks to restrict the number of days signatures are valid to only 180 days from date of signature for voter initiatives.

      Heads up people, we still have a fight ahead of us.

      [Editor’s note: NORML is well aware of current situation in MI where litigation whether or not the signatures older than 180 days are still valid is already underway.]

    2. Thank you editor for the historical perspective and legal clarification. It is tragic when legislators pretend to be physicians. But there is reason for great confidence that full federal legalization is inevitable; the capitalist system we live with will create a sort of intrauterine cannibalism for the fledgling legal marijuana pharmaceutical industry. Patenting lawyers, state and Federal courts will (and with the 280E case essentially are) bursting at the seams like a mother shark being eaten alive by her own young. Our Food and Drug Administration is already being tested to its limits through genetic biological engineering patents, but at what limits do we compell the extent at which we can patent an entire plant? Or endocannabinoids? Or synergetic whole plant synthesis? At what point does the enforcement of these quasi vape-oil only laws become moot? When innocent people stop getting arrested for the way we consume marijuana? After our government finally discovers how to properly tax and regulate the worlds most cultivated, oldest medicine? After all, isn’t that what legalization is all about? Because when patent 6630507 for “cannabinoids as neuroprotectants” finally becomes open source as well it should be, I think our favorite consumer advocacy group known as NORML will need a permanent tax lawyer on the payroll. Keith? Know any federal tax law?

      1. Prime example of an open source patent # is day 18330507 which gave us supreme neuroprotectant Johannes Brahms.

  9. It figures a republican could find a way to keep big pharma in the loop! So you can’t grow your own, can’t smoke it, and can only buy it from who??? Where is this the oil coming from?

  10. The FDA already has vaporizers to be removed from the state in 2 years by making them illegal. So the only thing this bill is good for nothing but oils.
    Oh wait..no it’s not.
    It is just another establishment move to make it seem like they are doing something when in reality, they aren’t doing anything.
    It has been this way long before I was born. I’m dumbfounded that sheeple actually believe these people.

  11. I’ve tried the vape thing and I can’t use it. Makes it feel like I cannot breathe.
    Didn’t the fda put a ban on vaporizers?
    If so, what good is this law? Perhaps it is time to move to another state.
    Sometimes you just get tired of dealing with the stupidity that is ohio.

  12. the people in Ohio don’t care about their laws and will keep smoking marijuana weather its legal or not

  13. it’s still sadly funny to me that government is so confused about marijuana that they have to treat it as if it were radioactive. Just don’t know what to do with this stuff; somebody might get “high!”

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