On June 8, 2016, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law House Bill 523, thereby legalizing medical marijuana. Ohio is now among 25 states that give individuals the right to use the drug for medical purposes. However, the law does not take effect until 90 days after signing.
Although the new law has found great favor with proponents of medical marijuana, there are many questions surrounding it. The state plans on developing a Medical Marijuana Control Division to implement administrative law addressing those questions.
For now, the use and possession of marijuana is illegal and can result in harsh penalties. If you’ve been charged with a drug-related crime, contact the Ohio criminal defense attorneys with Luftman, Heck & Associates at (513) 338-1890.
Who Can Use Medical Marijuana?
One of the most pressing questions regarding the new law is who will be able to legally use marijuana. State lawmakers have outlined specific medical conditions that qualify with physician approval. Those conditions include the following:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)
- Crohn’s disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
- Hepatitis C
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Chronic and severe pain
- Parkinson’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Sickle cell anemia
- Spinal cord disease or injury
- Tourette’s syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
Where Will Medical Marijuana Be Sold?
At this point, one of the biggest challenges for people seeking medical marijuana in September will be finding it. Regulatory bodies must establish significant laws regarding the establishment and operation of dispensaries. A rough timeline indicates that they should be open no later than September 2018. Thus, patients may have to wait years before legally taking advantage of the new law. There is no immediate solution to the time gap between enactment of the law and establishment of dispensaries.
What About Employer Drug Policies
Another major issue that remains is whether employees can be fired for testing positive for marijuana. The new Ohio law does allow employers to maintain a drug-free policy, imposing zero tolerance on medical marijuana users. Those who are fired because of drug use will also be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. Thus, a person may lose their job due to legally using marijuana for a medical purposes.
How An Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You
For now, the possession and use of marijuana is still illegal. People seeking medical marijuana will likely have to wait until September, and then it is still questionable where they will obtain the medication. If you are arrested for or charged with a marijuana-related crime, contact the Ohio criminal defense attorneys with Luftman, Heck & Associates at (513) 338-1890 today.